Sampling the landscape

Flagging artefacts for analysis

We are now in the second major phase of our fieldwork.  This involves carrying out very detailed analyses of stone artefact on the surface in selected areas.  Our general survey allows us to target particular locations that are dense in artefacts or associated with other archaeological features we would like to investigate (e.g. hearth and grinding stones).  Differences in assemblage composition may tell us about formation processes that affected the archaeological record, but also how people interacted with difference places on the landscape.  Most of our stone artefact assemblage analysis relates to technological aspects.  Past analyses have focused on tool typologies which may tell us about connections between groups of people in the past, but we also have questions that relate to human-environment interaction, economic change and settlement.  We are very interested in how people moved around the landscape within the Fayum, or possibly beyond to other regions.  Using stone artefacts provides a useful way to measure past human movement in the archaeological record because they are portable.  Refit analyses have been used in the past to do this, but it is very time consuming to carry this out over large areas.  A method of stone artefact analysis has been employed (see Douglass et al. 2008) to determine whether all products of core reduction are present, if they were removed, or if artefacts were imported from elsewhere.

Projectile point

For my PhD thesis I analyzed about 20,000 artefacts (flakes, cores and tools) from Kom K and Kom W which produced some very interesting results when compared to other regions (preliminary results in the Antiquity paper).  Now we would like to compare these locations of very dense occupation remains with other surface scatters on the landscape.    We will begin sampling the landscape this year and hopefully in the coming years we can increase our understanding of the spatial variability in Neolithic stone artefact assemblages across the north shore through continued analysis.

– Rebecca

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