Raw Material Choices in the Palaeolithic of the Inner Asian Mountain Corridor of Kazakhstan

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/132304
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2022-10-10
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Geographie, Geoökologie, Geowissenschaft
Advisor: Iovita, Radu (Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2022-07-19
DDC Classifikation: 550 - Earth sciences
930 - History of ancient world to ca. 499
Keywords: archeology , earth sciences , geoecology
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=en
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Reconstructing hominin raw material utilization patterns comprises one of the fundamental objectives of prehistoric archaeology. Lithic raw materials have been widely used as markers of hominin behaviour and subsequently used to study procurement strategies, mobility, and even cognitive developments. On this basis, my PhD project adopted a multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis of lithic raw materials and their potential relationship with habitual activities of hominins. In Paper I, the first geoarchaeological field survey to study the lithic raw material distribution within the Inner Asian Mountain Corridor of Kazakhstan was conducted. Geological specimens of various lithologies were macroscopically compared to the archaeological lithic assemblages. The results revealed that raw material utilization varied between study regions, which are separated by almost 1000 km. In the framework of an ongoing multi-disciplinary project, I analyzed the collected samples from geological and archaeological contexts by the application of engineering tests to address questions surrounding the lithic raw material quality (Paper II). The selected samples of chert, shale, and porphyry from three different regions of Kazakhstan were studied by means of objective tests. This is done to study one aspect of their mechanical properties, the fracture resistance, a value that is closely related to fracture toughness. The results suggest that materials previously considered of lower quality (e.g., porphyry) have mechanical properties that can be compared to chert. Ultimately, I discussed the effect of mechanical properties of porphyry in regard to the lithic technology illustrating its suitability for the production of sophisticated tools. Paper III provides the first petrographic characterization of various raw materials utilized in the Palaeolithic complexes of Kazakhstan and discusses the raw material procurement strategies based on field survey results and a comprehensive literature review. The petrographic analysis revealed structural variation within various chert samples collected in the Qaratau region and lays a foundation for future provenance studies of these materials. In addition, the field survey results suggest direct selective procurement strategies at Maibulaq. Overall, the current PhD dissertation has attempted to reconstruct the technological choices and procurement strategies of hominins groups based on multi-disciplinary methodological approaches published in three separate papers.

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