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 more than a few matters when it comes to prehistoric extraction websites, together with ethnography, geochemical signatures, the applying of neutron activation research, exploitation of erratics, excavation, survey and conservation.

themes contain quernstone extraction, use of hammers, levels of extraction, geographical and social contexts, altering social regimes, the ritualised nature of trips to quarry websites, examine 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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L’importance des silicifications maestrichtiennes chalossaises dans les stratégies d’exploitations des territoires par les chasseurs-cueilleurs, devait trouver un écho bien au-delà des Pyrénées occidentales. L’intensification des travaux sur les matières premières allochtones mises au jour dans des sites du Paléolithique supérieur du Bassin aquitain, voire de régions plus éloignées, vient confirmer cette hypothèse. Diffusion et exploitation des silex a lepidorbitoides sp. , ont, probablement grâce à leur grande aptitude à la taille, été largement exploités et diffusés au sein de l’aire Aquitano-pyrénéenne et de secteurs limitrophes.

Such landscapes can not only enhance our understanding of stone working traditions and extraction technologies, but also give valuable insights into the social context of stone quarrying at both a micro and macrolevel. In some instances ancient quarries have significantly contributed to physically and aesthetically shaping the landscape and may comprise significant landmarks, exemplified by the impressive Pharaonic gallery quarries along the Nile Valley. At the other end of the scale are prehistoric tool quarries and workshops, often invisible for the untrained eye, but certainly no less significant.

A small amount of knapping debris lay between the two structures, suggesting the definition of an activity area featuring the small-scale crafting of axes in this location. The fact that excavations did not recover evidence of large ‘chipping floors’ (ibid. 37), suggests that much of the raw material or pre-forms were transported off-site and reduction was not a major feature of mining when Shaft 13 was being exploited. Unlike the mines, the axe ‘factories’ have little overt material record of ritualised activity beyond occasional hoards of axes, as at Penmaenmawr and Langdale.

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