Plant use from the grinding stones’ viewpoint: Phytolith analyses from Aeneolithic Monjukli Depe, Turkmenistan

  • Birgül Öğüt Freie Universität Berlin
Keywords: Monjukli Depe, Turkmenistan, Aeneolithic, phytolith analyses, grinding stones, ground stone tools


[Resesarch Article]

Recent archaeological examinations include an increasing amount of natural science analyses. They are often carried out by external specialists and their results are often accepted by archaeologists without question. This may lead to incomplete integration of the results into an archaeological context. One of those methods, increasingly employed in the field of archaeology, is phytolith analysis. Phytoliths, microscopic silica bodies from genera-specific plant cells, allow searching for traces of plant material in archaeological contexts where methods based on macroscopic analysis have reached their limits. This paper combines natural science approaches with archaeological data by examining the social life of artefacts via phytolith analyses that can provide data to precisely determine the interpretation and variety of grinding stones, which are often misinterpreted. In this pilot study, the analyses confirmed the macroscopic observations for grinding plant material in some cases, but also opened new areas of study such as mineral-related activities, possible use of wooden implements and the connection between the different archaeological and botanical information. The analysed objects are grinding stones from Monjukli Depe, a small village in modern southern Turkmenistan that was occupied in the Neolithic and Aeneolithic periods. The site was excavated in the 1960s by Soviet archaeologists and restudied since 2010 by a team from the Free University Berlin.

Author Biography

Birgül Öğüt, Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie
Freie Universität Berlin
Fabeckstr. 23-25
14195 Berlin


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How to Cite
Öğüt, B. (2016). Plant use from the grinding stones’ viewpoint: Phytolith analyses from Aeneolithic Monjukli Depe, Turkmenistan. Journal of Lithic Studies, 3(3), 359-377.
Presented at the 1st Meeting of the Association for Ground Stone Tools Research