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Points on Production: Taphonomic research on Mesolithic osseous assemblages in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies.
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Osteoarchaeological materials are influenced by many consecutive factors, from human hunting strategies, consumption patterns and waste disposal to mechanical and chemical changes in bone structure and shape. Here Mesolithic osteoarchaeological patterns have been examined in relation to the production of bone and antler artefacts. The osseous production in Sweden of the period c. 7000–4500 cal BC shows both similarities and differences between six investigated sites, representing two different geographical regions. These may be seen in both manufacturing techniques and raw material use and may be linked to different traditions, but also to different utilization of different taskscapes. The production is also linked to lithic craft and the theme of e.g. raw material acquisition is also relevant in relation to the production of osseous artefacts. Spatial studies clearly show how different taphonomic processes affect the accumulation of bone material on site, but also how practitioners’ choices associated with the osseous craft affect these patterns. On several of the investigated sites, deposits of raw material have been found in the waters outside the settlements. In the settlement debitage from the production and forming of the artefacts, bone knapping floors have been identified. These are located centrally, in relation to other archaeological structures such as lithic knapping floors and dwellings. The osteoarchaeological record is biased in part due to debitage from osseous production but also from active human selection, transport and deposition of raw materials. These activities and the human choices of production affect the patterns, and through careful taphonomic analyses various accumulative processes may be highlighted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University , 2018. , p. 133
Series
Theses and papers in osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1652-4098 ; 09
Keywords [en]
Osteoarchaeological patterns, Taphonomic analysis, Osseous craft, Mesolithic, Spatial studies
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149658ISBN: 978-91-7797-114-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-115-3 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149658DiVA, id: diva2:1163707
Public defence
2018-02-23, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-01-31 Created: 2017-12-07 Last updated: 2018-01-31Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Taphonomy, bone surface characteristics and assemblage history: Finding Mesolithic bone depositions at Strandvägen, Motala
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Taphonomy, bone surface characteristics and assemblage history: Finding Mesolithic bone depositions at Strandvägen, Motala
2017 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN 2352-409X, E-ISSN 2001-1199, Vol. 13, p. 11-25Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Through taphonomic analyses, in this studywe evaluate bones surface characteristics and differences in bone accumulation on a Mesolithic settlement site, in Eastern Middle Sweden. The assemblage consists of faunal remains fromthe Mesolithic but also fromactivities dating to historical periods. All bones fromthe site, including indeterminate fragments, were analysed. Variation in bones surface characteristics were registered according to a set of taphonomic data, based on previously published studies. The variation were categorized as different texture scores and evaluated against species representation, radiocarbon datings and spatial distribution. The study underlines the potential of methodological approaches to taphonomic data and underlines the importance of including indeterminate fragments when studying human utilization of bones. The results present strong correlations between different species, bone tools and specific surface textures. It shows that a large part of the assemblage is of Mesolithic origin but also that activities dating to post-Mesolithic periods have contributed to the assemblage accumulation. Spatial analyses of the different surface textures helped to identify and separate Mesolithic activity areas of the site, thus providing an understanding of the spatial organization at intra site level, at the settlement of Strandvägen.

Keywords
Taphonomy, Surface texture, Weathering, Erosion, Mesolithic
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149445 (URN)10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.03.017 (DOI)000415616500002 ()
Available from: 2017-11-30 Created: 2017-11-30 Last updated: 2018-01-08Bibliographically approved
2. Points of Bone and Antler from the Late Mesolithic settlement in Motala, eastern central Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Points of Bone and Antler from the Late Mesolithic settlement in Motala, eastern central Sweden
2018 (English)In: Working at the sharp end: from bone and antler to Early Mesolithic life in Northern Europe / [ed] D. Groß, H. Lübke, J. Meadows, D. Jantzen, 2018Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Excavations at Motala, eastern central Sweden, have yielded a large and diverse material of osseous tools dating from the Late Mesolithic, c. 6000-4500 cal BC. The assembled collection comprises some 1500 pieces. About half of the identified tool types consist of different types of bone points of which barbed points dominate. The utilized raw material was predominantly red deer (Cervus elaphus) metatarsals and antler but other element do occur, as do bones from moose (Alces alces) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). More than 450 fragments of barbed points have been identified and interpreted as leister points or harpoon heads. The morphology of the barbed points were classified according to the general appearance of the corpus of points (setting of barbs) but more specifically from the morphology of basal ends. Aside from harpoons eight different groups of leister points were defined. The leister points are interpreted as prongs or single hafted points for fish-spears. Plain bone points are the second largest group, and may be sorted into several types, primarily interpreted as projectiles like arrowheads. Small bullet-like arrowheads and some rhombic points as well as club-shaped points of antler are also present. Slotted points appear in two different types either with uni- or bilateral edges. Based on the collection from the site Strandvägen and with help of morphological groups as well as a large number of radiocarbon dates, we have identified a change in the utilization of fishing implements at c. 5000 cal BC. The change is detected as a discontinuation in the use of barbed leister points and a possible shift from bilateral to unilateral slotted points in addition to overall decreasing human activities, despite a continued presence at the site.

National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149447 (URN)
Conference
Working at the sharp end at Hohen Viecheln: From bone and antler to Early Mesolithic Life in Northern Europe, Schleswig, Germany, March 14-16, 2016
Note

Unpublished. Reproduced with permission of the editors.

Available from: 2017-11-30 Created: 2017-11-30 Last updated: 2018-06-21
3. Lithic Raw Material Economy in the Mesolithic: An Experimental Test of Edged Tool Efficiency and Durability in Bone Tool Production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lithic Raw Material Economy in the Mesolithic: An Experimental Test of Edged Tool Efficiency and Durability in Bone Tool Production
Show others...
2017 (English)In: Lithic Technology, ISSN 0197-7261, Vol. 42, no 4, p. 140-154Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The foundation of this paper is lithic economy with a focus on the actual use of different lithic raw materials for tasks at hand. Our specific focus is on the production of bone tools during the Mesolithic. The lithic and osseous assemblages from Strandvägen, Motala, in east-central Sweden provide the archaeological background for the study. Based on a series of experiments we evaluate the efficiency and durability of different tool edges of five lithic raw materials: Cambrian flint, Cretaceous flint, mylonitic quartz, quartz, and porphyry, each used to whittle bone. The results show that flint is the most efficient of the raw materials assessed. Thus, a non-local raw material offers complements of functional characteristics for bone working compared to locally available quartz and mylonitic quartz. This finding provides a new insight into lithic raw material distribution in the region, specifically for bone tool production on site.

Keywords
Lithic raw material, experimental archeology, efficiency: durability, Mesolithic
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149450 (URN)10.1080/01977261.2017.1374584 (DOI)000418332000001 ()
Available from: 2017-11-30 Created: 2017-11-30 Last updated: 2018-01-08Bibliographically approved
4. The spatial organization of bone craft during the Middle and Late Mesolithic: Patterns of bone tool production at Ringsjöholm and Strandvägen in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The spatial organization of bone craft during the Middle and Late Mesolithic: Patterns of bone tool production at Ringsjöholm and Strandvägen in Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on the spatial distribution of osseous tool production debitage from two Mesolithic sites in Sweden, Ringsjöholm and Strandvägen, with well-preserved faunal remains including high numbers of osseous artifacts. Local production of osseous tools on both sites has generated a variety of identifiable unfinished products and debitage deriving from complete chains of production, including unmodified bones, various kinds of debitage and finished products. Identified categories include: anatomical and technical blanks, removed epiphyses, bone flakes and preforms. Identification of species and element distributions show that antler and metapodial bone from red deer was the preferred raw material. Technological characteristics of the osseous craft and different stages of production have been identified. Spatial statistical analyses confirm that different stages of osseous tool production were organized within separate areas of the sites and that larger items were discarded in the water along the shorelines adjacent to the settlements. Interestingly, blanks and preforms seem to have been stored under water for future use. At Strandvägen demarcated clusters of bone flakes in association with dwellings represent craft areas, or "bone knapping floors" where production was more intense than in other areas.

Keywords
Bone craft, Bone tool production, Spatial distribution, Mesolithic
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149453 (URN)
Available from: 2017-11-30 Created: 2017-11-30 Last updated: 2018-01-08Bibliographically approved
5. The Mesolithic cemetery at Strandvägen, Motala, in eastern central Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Mesolithic cemetery at Strandvägen, Motala, in eastern central Sweden
2016 (English)In: Mesolithic burials: rites, symbols and social organisation of early postglacial communities: international conference, Halle (Saale), Germany, 18th-21st September 2013 / [ed] Judith M. Grünberg, Bernhard Gramsch, Lars Larsson, Jörg Orschiedt, Harald Meller, Halle (Saale): Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt, Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte , 2016, Vol. 13/I, p. 145-159Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Halle (Saale): Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt, Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte, 2016
Series
Tagung des Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle, ISSN 2194-9441 ; 13: 1-2
Keywords
Gravar, gravskick, mesolitisk tid, Sverige, Östergötland, Motala
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149452 (URN)978-3-944507-43-9 (ISBN)
Conference
Mesolithic Burials –Rites, Symbols and Social Organisation of Early Postglacial Communities.
Available from: 2017-11-30 Created: 2017-11-30 Last updated: 2018-01-08Bibliographically approved
6. Diet and mobility among Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Motala (Sweden) - The isotope perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Diet and mobility among Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Motala (Sweden) - The isotope perspective
Show others...
2018 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN 2352-409X, E-ISSN 2001-1199, Vol. 17, p. 904-918Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent excavations at the sites of Strandvägen and Kanaljorden in Motala, Eastern Central Sweden, have unearthed complex and varied funerary remains from the Mesolithic. The two sites are situated on opposite banks of the river Motala Ström. While geographically close and roughly covering the same time span (c. 8000–7000 cal. BP), the funerary remains reveal differences and similarities in the treatment of the dead between the two localities. While at Strandvägen human bones were mostly found either scattered along the river bed or in inhumation graves, Kanaljorden contains wetland depositions of disarticulated skulls. We have conducted multi-isotope analyses of δ13C, δ15N, δ34S and 87Sr/86Sr of human and animal remains with the aim of reconstructing the dietary patterns, geographic provenance and mobility of the interred. A series of faunal reference samples and, in the case of 87Sr/86Sr, soil samples have been analysed in order to establish relevant isotopic baselines. The results show a protein intake dominated by aquatic resources, probably consisting of both freshwater and marine fish in varied proportions. The strontium isotope data indicate an interesting distinction between the individuals buried on either side of the river Motala Ström. Five out of six sampled individuals from Strandvägen have isotope ratios consistent with a local provenance, whereas ratios from seven out of eight Kanaljorden individuals indicate a non-local origin. The δ34S analysis proved problematic as a majority of the samples appear to be affected by diagenesis. This is probably the result of contamination by exogenous sulphur from surrounding fluvial and lacustrine sediments, as has previously been reported from other waterlogged sites.

Keywords
Hunter-gatherers, Scandinavia, Mesolithic burials, Strontium isotopes, Carbon isotopes, Nitrogen isotopes, Diet, Mobility
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-136712 (URN)10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.05.052 (DOI)000429561000083 ()
Available from: 2016-12-14 Created: 2016-12-14 Last updated: 2018-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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  • en-GB
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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Output format
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