Ground Stone Study

Ground Stone Study
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  HomeNewsResearchDatabaseProjectMediaTeamVisiting UsContactLinksSearch   GROUND STONE STUDY  ADNAN BAYSAL AND KATHERINE WRIGHTIn August of 2002, Katherine Wright joined Adnan Baysal in the ground stone artefact analysis. Our main goals were: (1) to update and refine the ground stone database; (2) to draw and photograph asmany artefacts as possible; (3) to write the report for the forthcoming publication, drawing on and addingto the data collected by Baysal since 1995; and (4) to define the goals for the ground stone study in thenext phase of work at ‚atalhšyŸk.To these ends, much of our time was spent in going through the artefacts from the 355 priority contexts,context by context, in order to create systematic classification schemes for both raw materials andtechno-typology. When this was achieved we set up a more detailed database, defining and recording anumber of variables. We also drew and photographed as many artefacts as possible from the prioritycontexts. We then started writing the ground stone chapter for the forthcoming publication. Finally, weestablished a new system for storing the materials and decided on our goals and procedures for thenext season (2003).In this article we present an overview of our work in summer 2002. The details will be found in theforthcoming volume. Building 1. Although samples are small, we can say that the ground stone artefacts from the Building 1are relatively consistent in the range of materials and types from the various phases. Artefact typesrepresented in Phase 1 (e.g. one-hand subrectangular plano-convex manos) are also represented inlater phases (e.g., Phase E2). There are some variations, though. Sandstone abrading tools areconcentrated in Phases 2 and 3 within the building and do not appear in the exterior midden contexts.Several observations hint at very different approaches to the use and maintenance of fine-grainedabrading tools relative to the andesite-basalt grinding tools. The great majority of andesite and basalttools are fragments. Some of these were clearly re-used as handstones. Such fragments were founddirectly associated with sandstone abrading slabs. Some fragments were left in oven fills, perhaps for aiding in the dissemination of heat or for use as supports for grilling. And many were thrown awayoutside of the house.By contrast, the abrading tools occur more often as complete items. In addition, the use surfaces of theabrading slabs are shallow. There is no evidence for recycling of sandstone abrading tools, whilst thereis much evidence suggesting recycling of andesite and basalt grinding slab fragments into other uses.In the case of the grinding feature F27 (Unit 1423), someone made a final use of a sandstone abradingslab (for ochre processing) and then carefully turned the slab over onto its face. Scattered around theslab were several grinding slab fragments, some with ochre. The complete artefacts suggest that these activities were conducted on a small scale. That is, theabrading slabs are very small and shallow, implying use with a one-hand mano or small abrader (theonly complete handstones and hand-held abraders found are all petite, usable with one hand). Toproduce large quantities of processed material on these rather petite artefacts would have required quitea bit of time (we plan to conduct experiments to investigate productivity). In addition, the complete slabsare amenable to being picked up and moved around without difficulty.These observations imply the multiple purposes of the grinding slab fragments used as handstones andthe abrading slabs found with them. The combined evidence of contexts and artefact associationssuggest that the ground stone artefacts served a number of purposes: paintmaking; food processing;polishing of walls, floors or small items.  In all, the ground stone artefacts from the selected contexts in Building 1 fit well with Martin andRussellÕs impression that materials were arriving in this house and not leaving it. Assuming that theselected contexts are fully representative of the building as a whole, andesite, basalt and gabbro seemto have arrived and been intensively recycled. Sandstone and a few other materials (schist, marble)seem to have arrived in the house, used for a relatively brief period without recycling, and then carefullyand deliberately abandoned.South Area The complex stratigraphy of the south area precludes much discussion of spatial patterningat this stage, but a few points do emerge. First, the vast majority of all ground stone artefacts from theselected contexts in the south area derive from middens, dumps, or fills. Of the artefacts from thesesecondary and teritary deposits, the vast majority are also fragments, especially of heavy grinding tools.However, when ground stone items were found on floors, in bins, in pits, or in ovens, they were likewisefragmentary and likewise dominated by broken grinding slabs and handstones. This fact tends toreinforce the picture (established for Building 1) of ‚atalhšyŸkÕs inhabitants using and re-using ÒoldÓandesite and andesitic basalt grinding tools even after these items were broken. This observation isfurther buttressed by the rather frequent occurrence of ground stone debitage (flakes) in the middendeposits, as well as the re-fashioning of older tools into new tools (e.g. chopping tools made from schistpalettes). In all, we can see in these materials good evidence for conservation and re-use of groundstone materials even unto Òexhaustion.Ó This seems to apply particularly to andesite and basalt.Conclusion. The foregoing summary represents the provisional, interim results of the ground stoneanalysis. More detailed discussion and analysis of the ground stone artefacts from ‚atalhšyŸk are still inprogress and will appear in the forthcoming report. Back to Top
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