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Lithic tool analysis

Functional analysis

We work with traditional microwear methods combining the so-called low-power and high-power approaches. This means that we are looking at wear traces, which are in fact mostly microscopical damages on the surface of the stone tools with stereo (1-40x magnification) and metallographic (40-500x magnification) microscopes. These traces are characteristic of​ the materials the tools were in contact with and the motions the tools were used in. We interpret these traces on archaeological artefacts by comparing them to experimentally used tools.

The functional interpretation of the stone tools also includes residue analysis. The methods used for this include physical characterisation of the residues, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), FTIR, Raman spectroscopy (RAMAN), chemical staining, proteomics, and ancient DNA analysis (aDNA).


Raw material analysis

The raw materials of the stone tools are analysed in order to reconstruct mobility and exchange networks. For provenancing the lithic raw materials, both destructive and non-destructive methods are used, such as thin-section analysis and micro-XRF in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry at Ghent University.

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