Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Microfossil evidence for grinding activities

Marta Portillo, Rosa M. Albert


Functional and technological analyses of grinding stone tools
have long played a major role in the characterization of such implements
in the archaeological record. Likewise, microfossil studies
from grinding stone assemblages have proved to be critical for
delineating tool use and tracing processing activities. This paper
deals with recent interdisciplinary research conducted at various
settlement sites spanning from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic to the Iron
Age. Using a selection of archaeological case studies, it examines
ways in which plant microremains, primarily phytoliths, together
with other archaeobotanical data (i.e. grain starches, pollen, macroremains)
and diverse methodological approaches (i.e. use-wear,
contextual geoarchaeological analyses) contribute to a better understanding
of the functional analyses of grinding tools, as well
as to reconstructing plant processing patterns and site activity
areas. The contribution of experimental approaches to an improved
interpretation of processing behaviors, as well as the fundamental
importance of understanding taphonomic and formation processes
in archaeological contexts is also discussed.

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