Estimating the scale of stone axe production: A case study from Onega Lake, Russian Karelia

  • Alexey Tarasov Institute of Linguistics, Literature and History, Pushkinskaya st.11, 185910 Petrozavodsk
  • Sergey Stafeev Institute of Applied Mathematical Research, Pushkinskaya st.11, 185910 Petrozavodsk
Keywords: Lithic technology, Neolithic, Eneolithic, Karelia, Fennoscandia, stone axe, adze, gouge, craft specialization, mass-analysis, image recognition


The industry of metatuff axes and adzes on the western coast of Onega Lake (Eneolithic period, ca. 3500 – 1500 cal. BC) allows assuming some sort of craft specialization. Excavations of a workshop site Fofanovo XIII, conducted in 2010-2011, provided an extremely large assemblage of artefacts (over 350000 finds from just 30 m2, mostly production debitage). An attempt to estimate the output of production within the excavated area is based on experimental data from a series of replication experiments. Mass-analysis with the aid of image recognition software was used to obtain raw data from flakes from excavations and experiments. Statistical evaluation assures that the experimental results can be used as a basement for calculations. According to the proposed estimation, some 500 – 1000 tools could have been produced here, and this can be qualified as an evidence of “mass-production”.


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How to Cite
Tarasov, A., & Stafeev, S. (2014). Estimating the scale of stone axe production: A case study from Onega Lake, Russian Karelia. Journal of Lithic Studies, 1(1), 239-261.
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