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The dynamics of flint and obsidian movement and utilisation strategies in the Central Mediterranean  


Abstract Category: Arts
Course / Degree: B.A (Hons) Archaeology
Institution / University: University of Malta, Malta
Published in: 2004


Thesis Abstract / Summary:

Since the 1960s archaeologists such as Colin Renfrew became interested in identifying the reasons why obsidian was moving in distances as far as 1000 km from the source. It became widely agreed that this obsidian exchange was part of an intra-village trade. But, in the manner of processual archaeology several mathematical models were drawn up to explain this obsidian movement. These models were a landmark of processual archaeology. In a decade or so these models fell under criticism when the data emerging failed to fit into these models. In this dissertation obsidian trade is under study alongside the generally ignored flint. It would be rather single-minded for this dissertation to study lithic raw material exchange in central Mediterranean prehistoric societies by examining only obsidian. The flint under study in this thesis is that hailing from Perfugas at Sardinia and that from Monti Iblei at Sicily.

The main aim of this study is to analyse the value that was being conferred to obsidian and flint by the receiving communities. This aim was only reached when a proper contextual analysis of the sites, in which lithics were recovered, was done. Although absolute conclusions are difficult to ascertain, this trade was surely a process that kept villages in contact from the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age, of course with some fluctuations in these contacts. It also seems plausible to claim that the value conferred to obsidian and flint was different in different regions and only with more contextual analysis of finds can this be assessed in future studies.


Thesis Keywords/Search Tags:
flint, obsidian, lithics, trade

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Submission Details: Thesis Abstract submitted by Clive Vella from Malta on 25-Aug-2004 23:58.
Abstract has been viewed 2059 times (since 7 Mar 2010).

Clive Vella Contact Details: Email: abysal2001@yahoo.com



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