Mining

Ancient Mines and Quarries: A Trans-Atlantic Perspective by Adrian Burke, David Field, Margaret Brewer-LaPorta

By Adrian Burke, David Field, Margaret Brewer-LaPorta

Fourteen papers discover quite a number matters in relation to prehistoric extraction websites, together with ethnography, geochemical signatures, the appliance of neutron activation research, exploitation of erratics, excavation, survey and conservation.

issues comprise quernstone extraction, use of hammers, levels of extraction, geographical and social contexts, altering social regimes, the ritualised nature of trips to quarry websites, research of petrofabrics, and the results of joint and cleavage on quarrying perform. contributions are in French with prolonged summaries in English.

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In contrast, axes from the two North Welsh quarry sites have distinctly different distributions: Group VII axes from Penmaenmawr (Graig Lwyd) are widely scattered throughout Wales and southern Britain, whereas conversely, the smaller numbers of Group XXI Mynydd Rhiw axes appear restricted to Wales (McKClough and Cummings 1988, 270, 282). This could demonstrate that the Penmaenmawr axes had a greater cultural value in Wales and beyond, whereas certain other quarries only produced material for more localised consumption – or for functional needs.

In both periods, the most representative tool types such as blade end scrapers, retouched blades, blades with denticulated retouch and blade truncations were made of raw material varieties 1 and 4. It is also worth mentioning the possibility of contact between the Chalcolithic settlements at Tell Azmak and some regions in north eastern Bulgaria, first suggested by V. Kurcatov’s analysis. This is based on raw material variety 7 from the Chalcolithic layer at Tell Azmak. Samples from the site alongside geological samples from the Razgrad region, north eastern Bulgaria were compared (Kurchatov in press) and the salient points repeated here: ‘The identical mineral composition of the samples, the similarities in the trace element contents and the textural analogy of the raw material give us reason to assume that the initial raw material (type 7) was taken from one and the same region.

Most probably the raw material used in the Chalcolithic layers at Tell Azmak originates from the northern cretaceous carbonate province (present-day north eastern Bulgaria – the area situated to the north and northeast of the Razgrad town). Тhis province extends further north into present day Romania (Hansen et al. 2005, 341–393). Undoubtedly, i) ‘the raw material has a sedimentary origin – plant and animal silicified detritus is present’; ii) ‘the presence of corroded carbonate in all artifacts gives reason to conclude that the chert rocks resulted from silicification of primary carbonate sediments (formation of chert cores)’; iii) ‘the negligible variations in the Mn content is explained by its irregular distribution in the chert, whereas the elevated contents of Ca and Mn in sample No.

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