Presentation
 
 

As far as raw materials go, chert, obsidian and other knappable stones stand out as some of the most common materials in the archaeological record, and at some sites the only preserved material. They were used in almost every corner of the world, from the Palaeolithic up until today. Use of these materials even predates the appearance of our own species. Being so widespread both geographically as well as chronologically, this topic merits a global meeting of researchers to discuss and compare our findings.

This conference will cover all aspects of knapped stone raw materials from geological origin, to mining, usage, and laboratory analyses on these materials. Although we expect that there will be more focus on chert and other microcrystalline quartz varieties, we also encourage presentations related to other knappable materials such as obsidian, quartz, quartzite, rhyolite and others. Papers will be accepted on any culture or time period. Whether you are a field archaeologist, laboratory researcher, ethnographer or a modern day knapper yourself, we look forward to hearing about your research.

Main Sessions
The symposium will focus on two major themes: The chaîne opératoire of knapped stone artefacts, and auxilliary sciences related to lithics (in particular microcrystaline quartz).

Theme 1 - Chaîne opératoire
- Raw material exploitation strategies - mining and surface collecting
- Ancient lithic trade and economics
- Stone tool production and processing techniques
- Use-wear analyses - signs of usage on stone tools (a.k.a. traceology)

Theme 2 - Auxilliary sciences
- Microcrystaline quartz as a geological material
- Characterising lithic sources
- Lithotheques - collections of comparative raw materials

Theme 3 - Special topic sessions
- Gemology: Obsidian and quartz as gemstones
- Experimental flint knapping
- Stirring the wheel on human behaviour: Mechanical devices for testing material performance
- Gunflints: Production, distribution and use
- Silcrete as a lithic raw material in global context: Geology, sourcing and techno-economics
- Obsidian in archaeology and geology