Analyzing the Cutting Edge - Balkans Lithic Technology of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods

The subject of this proposal is the transformation of the autonomous village societies of the Balkan Neolithic transformed into a regional system of craft specialization and class differentiated societies in the Chalcolithic. The project addresses this fundamental rearrangement of agrarian society by considering the intrinsic worth of chipped stone technology. Their argument is that chipped stone artifacts satisfied vital needs literally at the cutting edge of survival. As such, they were highly valued.

As a way to understand how Neolithic and Chalcolithic people actually adapted to agrarian built environments, the prime objective of the project is to compare their mostly, but not exclusively, prismatic blade technology from a roughly north-south transect bordering the Black Sea on the west. The applicants’ selection of excavated collections is from sites in the lower Danube Valley of Romania and Bulgaria and extending to both sides of the Bosporus in Turkey. From extensive study of Chalcolithic sites in this region, it is known that sickle blades and bifacial chipped stone points fashioned from prismatic blades were technological necessities, and likely the most valued of their chipped stone tools. The applicants have singled out both further analysis and comparison with Neolithic tools as the most intelligible and efficient way to delineate systemic differences in the usage and conservation of stone technology, writ large.

Project proposal Pi: 
Marvin Kay, University of Arkansas and Ivan Gatsov, New Bulgarian University