Rock procurement and use during the Middle Neolithic: the Macrolithic tools of Dambach-la-Ville (Alsace, France)
A preventive archaeological excavation carried out in 2012 at Dambach-la-Ville (Bas-Rhin, France) uncovered a large Middle Neolithic settlement (Upper Rhine West Bischheim group) dating from the second half of the 5th millennium BCE. The site comprised a very large assemblage of well-dated macrolithic tools (more than 500). Grinding stones, including about roughouts, make up the bulk of the assemblage. Morphological analyses indicate that certain types of use-wear are linked directly to specific types of rock. The variety of rock types is unusual for this period. The tools fashioned for the most part from Permian and Lower Triassic sedimentary rocks, and more rarely from plutonic and metamorphic rocks. The assemblage includes a large group of hammerstones from different rock types (sedimentary, plutonic, volcanic and metamorphic). More than half are silicified micritic limestones, a rock that is extremely rare and can be unambiguously traced to a single outcrop about 15 kilometres from the site. This systematic interdisciplinary study of the tools and their petrography offers the opportunity to explore questions regarding provenance and procurement networks in Alsace around 4150 BCE.
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