Publisher: Ghent University (Ghent, 2021)
Methodologies: Micro-wear; Experimental Archaeology; Alteration Experiments
Periods: Mesolithic-Neolithic transition; Swifterbant
Related Topics: Geology, Geochemistry, Lithic technology, Ceramic technology
Abstract: The transition from the Late Mesolithic to the Early Neolithic in the sandy lowland of northern Belgium is not yet fully understood. In the last two decades the first sites dating to this transitional phase have been excavated along the river Scheldt at Doel Deurganckdok, and Bazel Sluis. The microwear analysis of lithic tools from these sites is part of the investigation whether the introduction of an agro-pastoral economy in the coversand area had been the result of demic diffusion (colonizing new land), acculturation (contact/exchange), or a combination of both. In the meantime, burnt and patinated lithics have been at Mesolithic sites in Northern Belgium. However, burnt or patinated lithic artefacts are regularly discarded from microwear analyses, causing a bias in the functional interpretation of prehistoric sites, which is clear in this project’s research area of the Scheldt basin. Altered stone artefacts potentially hold information regarding the functional, spatial, and social organisation of the site. Therefore, investigating the impact of these alterations on lithic tools, and especially on the preservation of microwear traces is crucial. In this thesis, the effect of patination and burning on the preservation of microwear will be explored throughout interdisciplinary experiments and their results will be reflected on the microwear results of the transitional archaeological sites from the Scheldt basin. Throughout this analysis, the Neolithisation process of the Scheldt valley will be reflected on.