A flair for imperfections
To most people, a useless flint axe is just that. To archaeologist Sigrid Alræk Dugstad, it is a source of information about Stone Age children.
Whereas arrowheads, axes and other formal tools have traditionally received a lot of attention in research, the archaeologist Sigrid Alræk Dugstad now concentrates on what is at the bottom of the hierarchy, namely the production debris and the unfinished and discarded products.
In the article “Early child caught knapping: A novice early Mesolithic flintknapper in southwestern Norway,” she has turned upside down the hierarchy of objects from the Early Stone Age.
“A succession of failed strokes, terminating in many hinge and step fractures, indicates that axe was made by a novice flintknapper, probably a child,” Dugstad says. She refers to archaeological assemblage from an open air-site found on the island of Hundvåg in south-western Norway which she studied in connection with her master’s thesis. Read more.
New excavations indicate use of fertilizers 5,000 years ago
Researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have spent many years studying the remains of a Stone Age community in Karleby outside the town of Falköping, Sweden. The researchers have for example tried to identify parts of the inhabitants’ diet. Right now they are looking for evidence that fertilisers were used already during the Scandinavian Stone Age, and the results of their first analyses may be exactly what they are looking for.
Using remains of grains and other plants and some highly advanced analysis techniques, the two researchers and archaeologists Tony Axelsson and Karl-Göran Sjögren have been able to identify parts of the diet of their Stone Age ancestors.
‘Our first task was to find so-called macrofossils, such as old weed seeds or pieces of grain. By analysing macrofossils, we can learn a lot about Stone Age farming and how important farming was in relation to livestock ranching,’ says Axelsson. Read more.