Economy and status of Neolithic to Early Bronze age sites in the Southern Caucasus during the 6th‐3rd mill. BCE: The evidence from ground stone tools
In the Southern Caucasus, the evolution of the Neolithic to Bronze age (6th-3rd millenia BCE) economies is often investigated through the prism of adaptation to constrasted landscapes and environments (arid plain, high moutains, subtropical western coasts) and strategies of natural resource exploitation. This overview of the main technological and functional characteristics of ground stone tools from about 20 sites in the Kura Valley (Georgia, Azerbaijan) contributes to the discussion surrounding these questions. After an overview of the evolution of the grinding equipment and stone tool manufacture within a long term perspective, from the Late Neoliothic to the Early Bronze Age, several issues are adressed. The composition of the macrolithic toolkit is a key issue when discussing the importance of agriculture versus pastoralism in the economy of these populations, which evolved in different regional and environmental contexts. Its management also contributes to our understanding of the degree of sedentarity versus mobility of the populations. Finally, we discuss how the technical evolution of the macrolithic toolkit reflects the principal global changes occurring during this long period of time (neolithisation, emergence of metallurgy, and the mining phenomenon) and their cultural meaning. Our initial results underline the significance of some implements as cultural markers, and also contribute to defining the common cultural background and regional specificities within the South Caucasus region.
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