Controlled experiments for studies of lithic technology and functionality

Experimental studies have long been used as one of the major proxies to interpret the archaeological record and understand how lithic tools were produced and used. However, in this debate, the traditional actualistic experiments have been often seen as marked by the low control and quantification of the variables involved. In fact, recent research has been shown that during the traditional hand-held experiments, these numerous variables have major impact on the final results of the essays. Thus, the best approach to understand how those variables perform individually is the use of experimental protocols that are performed under high-resolution and highly controlled settings, only possible using mechanical devices. Controlled experimental designs are developed to improve the identification, measuring and analyze of all the variables and, therefore, to eliminate or drastically reduce all the bias cause by the human factor during the experiences. Data from the identification and quantification of such variables is fundamental to understand in which way the different variables influence and explain the final results of these experiments.

In this session we invite researchers to give their contribution to the research on high controlled experimental studies focusing on technological and functional questions in order to discuss methodological approaches and test different research questions to interpret the archaeological record, such as raw material selection, technological and typological variability and tool functionality.

Session organizers

Joao Marreiros
Telmo Pereira

ICArEHB. Universidade do Algarve

1. Campus Gambelas8005-139Faro, Portugal
2. Instituto Mila I Fontanals Barcelona, Spain