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Microfossil evidence for grinding activities

By Marta Portillo and Rosa M. Albert


Functional and technological analyses of grinding stone tools have long played a major role in the characterization of such implements in the archaeological record. Likewise, microfossil studies from grinding stone assemblages have proved to be critical for delineating tool use and tracing processing activities. This paper deals with recent interdisciplinary research conducted at various settlement sites spanning from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic to the Iron Age. Using a selection of archaeological case studies, it examines ways in which plant microremains, primarily phytoliths, together with other archaeobotanical data (i.e. grain starches, pollen, macroremains) and diverse methodological approaches (i.e. use-wear, contextual geoarchaeological analyses) contribute to a better understanding of the functional analyses of grinding tools, as well as to reconstructing plant processing patterns and site activity areas. The contribution of experimental approaches to an improved interpretation of processing behaviors, as well as the fundamental importance of understanding taphonomic and formation processes in archaeological contexts is also discussed

Topics: molins; arqueologia protohistòrica; cereals
Publisher: Universitat de Lleida
Year: 2014
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