Axes and grinding stones are the main tools of Neolithization. Both tool classes are central innovations of the Neolithic and undergo functional and formal developments at the beginning of this epoch: the axes are shafted and the grinding stones develop into tools for food preparation with standardized forms and multiple purposes.

Traditionally, axes are associated with the clearing of cultivated land and house building, and griding stones with the processing of cereals in the context of the establishment of agriculture during Neolithization. Because their function seemed so clear, relatively few functional studies have been conducted in Central Europe, while experimental archaeological studies have been focused mainly on the understanding their effectiveness, rather than their mode of use. However, studies of similar implements from Southwestern Asia indicate that these tools were multifunctional. In addition, experimental archaeology has been able to differentiate specific practices for the production of regionally specific meals based on traces and deformations of the working surfaces. Previous use-wear approaches often rely on analytical procedures based on short, statistically unrepresentative experiments with non-reproducible results.

This project will investigate the use of the tools during Neolithization on artifacts from Western Anatolia (Çukuriçi Höyük), Southeastern Europe (Svinjarička Čuka), as well as Central Europe.

A combined, innovative methodology based on long-term experiments with replicates, macro- and microscopic trace analysis and geometric morphometrics will be applied to identify uses, multifunctionality, use intensities, repairs and recycling. The main aim in addition to scientific studies is to create an open access reference collection based on long-term experiments.

Principal investigator