Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Excavations at Sissi III

 | 
Jan Driessen
, 
Charlotte Langohr
, 
Quentin Letesson
, 
et al.

10. Ground stone technologies at the Bronze Age settlement of Sissi

Preliminary Results

Christina Tsoraki

Note de l’auteur

Honorary Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, UK.

Texte intégral

1. Introduction

  • 2 During the 2011 excavation campaign, material from different zones was rapidly assessed as well as (...)
  • 3 Stone has been used extensively as building material at Sissi. A rapid assessment of the types of s (...)

1The first study season of the Sissi ground stone assemblage commenced in June 2011 and focused mainly on material recovered during the 2010 excavation campaign, but also on a small number of objects recovered during the 2011 campaign2. In total, 276 objects were studied, 73 of which exhibit no manufacturing or use wear and thus have not been included in the following analysis3. The remaining 203 objects were recorded in detail in terms of technological characteristics and wear patterns. In the following sections the nature of the Sissi ground stone assemblage will be presented as a whole and some initial observations on the spatial distribution of these objects will be discussed.

2. Establishing a research and methodological framework

2Drawing upon the concepts of the chaîne opératoire and object biographies, the aim of this study was to elucidate the choices made during the different stages of the life cycle of ground stone objects, from the acquisition of raw material, to production, use and final discard (cf. Tsoraki 2008). Emphasis is placed on procurement strategies (quarrying of primary outcrops or collection of secondary deposits such as material from river beds) and the form in which specimens entered the site (as unworked nodules or (semi-) finished products), stages and character of production (e.g. on-site production), object types and contexts of use and discard.

3To address these issues a range of qualitative and quantitative attributes were recorded for each object: metrical attributes (length, width, thickness, weight, inner and outer diameter of perforations, and dimensions of use-faces) for both complete and incomplete objects; rock types including information on grain size and textural characteristics; information on typology and technology (reduction sequences, manufacturing techniques and wear, percentage of naturally weathered surfaces); morphological characteristics; attributes that relate to the use history of these artefacts [primary and secondary use (reuse), number of use-faces, degree and type of wear, modification/maintenance of use-faces, fragmentation patterns)]; qualitative attributes (colour, degree of polishing) as well as contextual information. The analysis included the study of ground stone objects, unworked nodules and waste by-products.

4Drawing upon typological schemes employed by other researchers in mainland Greece and Crete (Warren 1969; Runnels 1981; Evely 1993; Blitzer 1995), Anatolia and Near East (Wright 1992a; 1992b) and other areas (Adams 2002), a generic classification system was applied in the study of the Sissi ground stone assemblage in an attempt to avoid functionally specific terms (e.g. grinding slab instead of millstone which might imply the exclusive use of the tool in food-processing activities). Following Adams (2002), the classification of the material is mainly ‘activity-based’. General object categories were created based either on the shape of the object (e.g. edge tools) or on the character of the activity the tool was used for (e.g. percussive tools), judging from the wear patterns. The classification of artefacts according to their shape is not taken to indicate function. Following Adams (2002), wear patterns, identified macroscopically, enabled the classification of artefacts and the identification of possible tool use(s). For instance, percussive marks (impact fractures-Adams 2002: 30) on use-faces would indicate percussive activities, such as use as a hammerstone, while the presence of striations and sheen was regarded as evidence of smoothing/grinding activities.

5The identification of manufacturing and use wear was based on the macroscopic examination of all objects with a hand-lens (8-15x magnification) under artificial light. The colour of rocks was recorded using the Munsell Soil Colour Chart instead of rock colour charts to ensure comparability of results with other ground stone studies conducted in Greece.

3. Preliminary results of the ground stone analysis

3.1. Typological classification

6The assemblage was divided into eight general object categories, each further divided into sub-categories. Artefacts that could not be attributed to any of these categories were recorded as indeterminate (n=41) (Table 10.1):

Tab. 10.1. THE FREQUENCY OF THE RECORDED GROUND STONE ARTEFACTS IN ZONES 2-6

7A. Edge tools: this category includes tools with one sharp working edge, deliberately modified mainly via abrasion. Based on morphological criteria such as the profile of the cutting edge, these tools are divided into axes, adzes and chisels (cf. Wright 1992a; Stroulia 2010; Tsoraki 2011a). A very small number of axes/adzes have been identified at Sissi and these mainly come from the excavation campaigns prior to 2010. None of these tools has been studied at this stage and hence they do not appear in the tables and following discussion.

8B. Percussive tools: tools that have been used with forceful strokes against other surfaces in order to remove unwanted material. These implements are characterised by percussive damage on one or both ends that usually takes the form of impact fractures and flake scars. Based on the character of the percussive wear (e.g. shallow or deep impact fractures), heavily dependent on the force of the applied stroke, a distinction can be made between hammerstones and pounders (i.e. percussive tools that have been used with less force resulting in more uniform wear). Twenty six examples have been identified at Sissi thus far; they are mainly ovate or spherical in plan view and ovate in section with convex use-faces. The complete examples range between 55.54–228.00 mm in length, 45.60–117.62 mm in width, 36.32–109.18 mm in thickness, and 154-3100 g in weight. This category seems to correspond to Blitzer Type 1, Implements with Pecked and Battered Ends (Blitzer 1995: 425-426).

Fig. 10.1. (A) RECTANGULAR WHETSTONE (GS173/08-03-0463-OB001) FOUND IN ROOM 3.3 AND (B) DETAIL SHOWING THE LINEAR, MULTIDIRECTIONAL STRIATIONS VISIBLE ON THE USE-FACE OF THE WHETSTONE (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

9C. Grinding/abrasive tools: this category comprises both handheld and stationary implements that exhibit mainly abrasive use-wear (striations and/or smoothed areas with levelling of grains) on their use-faces. These implements are further subdivided into the following categories: C. 1. abraders: tools with a rough texture that were employed in order to alter the contact surface by removing material through abrasion (cf. Adams 2002: 79-80). Among the abrading tools identified within the Sissi ground stone assemblage there is a number that are rectangular/sub-rectangular in shape with use-faces that exhibit abrasive wear (smooth abraded surfaces) and frequently shallow grooves or deep gouges (fig. 10.1). Their size ranges between 81-157 mm in length, 34-58 mm in width, 15-38 mm in thickness, and 96-536 g in weight. Similar tools occur in other Bronze Age assemblages in Crete and have been classified as ‘whetstones’ (Evely 1984: 226-229; Blitzer 1995:442; Carter 2004: 74). These tools have been frequently associated with the production of metal tools. The distinct shape of these tools, usually the result of deliberate modification, in addition to what it seems to be a preference for fine to medium grained rocks such as phyllite, sandstone and quartzite, makes these objects a coherent group that stands out in relation to other abrading tools of a more irregular shape. At this stage of the analysis the term ‘whetstone’ has been retained for this group of abrasive tools in order to facilitate comparisons with other published assemblages. Once the analysis of the Sissi ground stone assemblage is completed, the terminology will be refined based on the actual wear patterns and the size and type of the use-faces (e.g. abraders with flat working surface or V- or U-shaped grooves) encountered on the different abrading tools. Differences in the shape of the use-face are indicative of the possible uses tools were employed for. For instance, V-shaped grooves are formed during the working of tools with thin edges or with pointed ends such as awls and needles, whereas U-shaped ones relate to the working of bone or wooden shafts (Adams 2002: 82-91). This category corresponds to Blitzer Type 5 implements (Blitzer 1995: 441-442).

10C.2. polishers/smoothing stones: tools with a smooth texture that exhibit smoothed use-faces with visible sheen (i. e. polish) as well as multiple striations as a result of abrasive and tribochemical interactions (Blitzer Type 16C, 1995: 478). They are unmodified small sized cobbles and pebbles, mainly of fine grained limestone, and range between 22-97 mm in length, 22-69 mm in width, 13-42 mm in thickness, and 20-459 g in weight. The majority have one use-face and judging from the development of the wear on the use-face they were used for polishing relatively small surfaces.

11C. 3. sub-cuboid polishers. They are distinguished by other polishing tools mainly by their regular form, frequently the result of intentional modification. Similar examples occur in various Bronze Age sites in Crete (Evely 1984; Carter 2004). Two examples have been identified at Sissi which are spherical in section with convex or use-flattened working faces. One is made of quartzite and the other example recovered in Zone 6 during the 2011 season is made of amphibolite. The quartzite implement, which survives complete, is 53.70 mm long, 54.73 mm wide, 48.79 mm thick and weighs 214 g. The use-face is 33.41mm long and 36.51 mm wide.

12C.4. grinding slabs/querns: lower stationary grinding tools upon which a variety of substances such as grains, pigments, clay, acorns, and spices were ground and pulverised, most frequently in conjunction with an upper handheld tool (Wright 1992a; Blitzer Type 17, 1995: 479). Grinding slabs could have also been employed in the production of other artefacts such as ornaments and tools (Runnels 1981; Tsoraki 2008, 2011b; Stroulia 2010). The Sissi examples are mainly sub-rectangular/ovate in plan view, have one flat to slightly concave use-face and show variation in their dimensions. Variation in the size of these tools has implications for the character of the tools (movable or stationary), the location and organisation of the activities (flexible or fixed) and the scale of processing. In terms of raw materials, there is a preference for sedimentary rocks such as sandstone due to their gritty texture that enables the grinding process.

  • 4 The direction (multidirectional/unidirectional) and the location (perpendicular to the long axis of (...)

13C.5. grinders: upper handheld tools used in conjunction with grinding slabs for grinding and pulverising activities (Wright 1992b; Blitzer Type 7, 1995: 451). Similar to lower grinding tools, there is a tendency to use sedimentary rocks such as different qualities of sandstone and limestone. These are mainly ovate/sub-rectangular in plan view, ovate/spherical or plano-convex in section with one flat or convex use-face. The dimensions of complete examples are 87-183 mm long, 59-116 mm wide and 37-72 mm thick and their weight ranges between 408-1555 g. Variation in the size of grinders has implications for the kinetics involved during use; for instance, some of these examples would have been operated by one hand possibly in rotary grinding or others would have required the use of both hands in reciprocal grinding4 (one-hand/two-hand manos, see Adams 2002). The wear damage encountered on the use-faces of these tools includes abrasive wear, levelling of grains and unidirectional (mainly perpendicular to long axis) or multidirectional striations.

  • 5 Mortars could have been used in conjunction with stone or wooden pestles (Wright 1992).

14C.6. mortars are lower, stationary tools with a basin/concavity within which a variety of substances were processed usually with a pestle or other percussive/abrasive tools5 (Blitzer Type 18, 1995: 481-482). Percussive (i. e. pitted surface) and/or abrasive wear are visible on the bottom and side walls of the use-faces indicative of crushing/pounding, stirring/mixing and grinding activities (Wright 1992b: 65; Adams 2002: 127). Among the examples identified at Sissi of great interest is the tripod mortar unearthed in Zone 5 (see Sissi II: 151, fig. 6.14). Although this object has not been studied yet, the characteristic three legs and the overall careful working make this specimen stand out within the ground stone assemblage as a whole. This object corresponds to MSV Type 45 (Warren 1969: 115-117).

  • 6 Cautionary tales are provided from ethnographic work, where reference is made to the use of pestles (...)

15C.7. pestles are handheld tools of usually elongated shape employed for pulverizing and grinding activities frequently, but not always6, in conjunction with a lower stationary tool. Variations in size may be indicative of intended function with small sized pestles used for grinding, stirring and mixing activities, whereas larger and heavier pestles used for crushing activities. Pestles could have been used for the processing of food and non-food substances (e.g. pigments, clay) (Adams 2002: 138-142). To date, only two pestles have been identified within the Sissi ground stone assemblage (for a description see below).

16D. Ornaments. Two sub-categories have been identified: beads and ‘conical buttons’ (cf. Evely 1984: 239). Similar to other Cretan assemblages, the Sissi examples are made of serpentinite and steatite (see Gaignerot, this volume, fig. 4.12, and Jusseret, this volume, fig. 6.22).

17E. Stone vases. Different types of stone vases have been identified at Sissi including bowls (bird’s nest bowls: MSV 3, blossom bowls: MSV 5), block vases/kernoi (MSV 4), lamps (MSV 24) and lids (MSV 27). Serpentinite is the dominant raw material among the recorded examples, but also a possible example of calcite has been identified.

18F. Miscellaneous artefacts. This category includes a small number of artefacts that do not fit in the previous categories: F. 1. rocks with natural perforations: these examples have natural surfaces that do not bear any visible manufacturing wear (Blitzer Type 12A, 1995: 467).

19F.2. pitted/cupped stones: stones that have one or two opposed depressions (cupules) that were created by percussion and exhibit impact fractures. They could have been intended to be used as drill caps, but the lack of abrasive wear within the depressions (i.e. the impact fractures are not rounded and smoothed) does not support this. Other possibilities to explore are whether the percussive wear relate to use (e.g. anvils) (Adams 2002: 136; Antonovic 2006: 26, catalogue 65-74) or whether these objects represent a stage in the manufacture of other object types, where percussion was used in order to remove material prior to the drilling of the stone (e.g. perforated stone rings, see below). The depth of the concavities ranges between 5.96 mm and 8.67 mm and the diameter of the depression is ca. 29 mm. Their function is unclear and for this reason in the current study they are recorded according to a common characteristic they all share (depression) and not to their possible use.

20F.3. perforated stone rings: intentionally modified cobbles that are circular in plan view and have a biconical perforation that is centrally located. Similar objects are documented throughout the Neolithic (Neolithic Knossos, Tsoraki in prep.) and Bronze Age period in Crete (Warren 1972: 237-239; Blitzer 1995: 470, Type 12D; Carter 2004: 80, Type 22). Suggested uses include loomweights, net sinkers, or weights used in tandem with digging sticks (Blitzer 1995; Carter 2004). Variations mainly in the diameter of the perforation are attested between different assemblages, which may suggest different functions (compare for instance Blitzer 1995, Plate 8.72 and fig. 10.2, this chapter). The Sissi example is made of limestone and is broken in half (fig. 10.2).

Fig. 10.2. STONE RING WITH BICONICAL PERFORATION (GS79/10-06-2050-OB002) FROM SPACE 6.1 (B. CHAN)

  • 7 This type of use contrasts with sequential use (Adams 2002: 24); this term refers to the reuse of t (...)

21G. Multiple-use tools: tools that have been used in more than one activity concurrently. Different use-faces have been employed for different activities and hence use in one task does not hinder use in another (concomitant use7). This category includes the following sub-types: polisher/hammerstone, and grinder/pounder (fig. 10.3).

Fig. 10.3. GRINDER/POUNDING TOOL (GS 82/10-06-2059-OB002) FROM SPACE 6.1: A) PLAN VIEW OF THE TOOL WHERE RED ARROWS INDICATE THE RIDGES OF THE OVATE AREA CREATED AS A RESULT OF USE AGAINST A FLAT SURFACE. B) DETAIL OF THE REGULAR PECKING USED TO ROUGHEN THE SURFACE OF THE TOOL (B. CHAN)

22H. Debitage, cores and unworked nodules.

23Excluding indeterminate cases, the vast majority of the objects recorded have been attributed to the grinding/abrasive category (43.8%), followed by percussive tools (16%) and multiple-use tools (13%) (Table 10.1). Grinders occur more frequently (ca. 10%), followed by pounders (ca. 8%) and grinding slabs/querns (ca. 7%). It should be stressed, however, that, once the analysis of the whole ground stone assemblage is completed, the proportions of the various object categories as well as the frequency of objects in the different zones will be significantly revised.

3.2. Raw material procurement and use

  • 8 I would like to thank Florence Gaignerot-Driessen for giving me access to her unpublished work.

24A range of metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks were encountered in the Sissi assemblage. Excluding indeterminate cases, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks (51.8% and 45.9% respectively) occur more frequently than igneous ones (1.8%) (fig. 10.4), with limestone of different qualities (ca. 26%) and quartzite (23%) constituting the primary rock types exploited at Bronze Age Sissi, followed by sandstone of different qualities (ca. 16%). Among the recorded igneous specimens there are two pieces of pumice that have been modified through use (fig. 10.5). Unworked pumice lumps of different sizes, however, are very frequently encountered in different levels and in different Zones, with the largest concentration occurring in Zone 3 (see Sissi I: 97-98; Gaignerot & Driessen 20128). During 2011 a preliminary assessment of the pumice from the 2010 season was undertaken with the aim to identify all possible worked material. Pumice from all contexts was weighed and the average dimensions were recorded.

25The nature of the geological resources employed for the production of stone objects was assessed by recording the presence or absence of naturally weathered surfaces on artefacts. This could shed light on procurement method (s) (quarrying of primary outcrops or collection of secondary deposits) and the form in which specimens entered the site (as unworked nodules or (semi-) finished products).

26The analysis of weathering coverage on artefacts has shown that more than 60% of the assemblage has more than 50% of weathered surfaces still visible and ca. 10% of ground stone artefacts have no or less than 25% of weathered surfaces. The frequency of weathered surfaces is mirrored in both sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, though steatite and serpentinite specimens (both metamorphic rocks) tend to have no weathered surfaces on their surfaces, as is also the case for the unique example of the medium to coarse-grained igneous rock (possibly microgranite or granodiorite).

27The relative frequency of weathered surfaces, however, is heavily affected by the extent of manufacture and/or use. Thus ground stone artefacts with no weathered surfaces belong to formal object categories (i.e. the pestles from Zone 3, stone vases and ornaments) that acquired their form through a more rigid manufacturing sequence of steps.

Fig. 10.4. RAW MATERIAL USE FOR GROUND STONE TECHNOLOGY AT BRONZE AGE SISSI (N= 170, EXCLUDING INDETERMINATE CASES)

Fig. 10.5. PUMICE OBJECTS FROM ZONE 3: A. ABRADER (GS146/11-03-0554-OB002). B. PITTED/CUPPED OBJECT (GS147/11-03-0554-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

28In all, the high percentage of weathering in addition to the presence of unworked nodules in the form of water-worn material suggests that secondary deposits from river beds and/or the nearby beach (pebbles/cobbles/boulders) had been employed extensively as raw materials for the ground stone assemblage at Sissi. The production of certain objects such as the production of stone vases, on the other hand, seems to have relied on the exploitation of primary sources. This is in line with results from other sites in Bronze Age Crete (e.g. Warren 1969). Thus far, no blocks from primary sources or other unworked material of an adequate size (e.g. see Carter 2004: 114 where large serpentinite cobbles were unearthed at Mochlos) have been identified within the Sissi assemblage during the analysis, which raises issues regarding the on-site production of stone vases at Sissi (see section on production).

  • 9 This suggestion may need to be revised once the whole ground stone assemblage is studied.

29Overall, the Sissi assemblage is comprised predominantly of raw materials that are available in the immediate or nearby vicinity of the settlement. These include grey limestone and quartzite. Despite the principal reliance on local resources, raw materials that originate from regional sources within Crete (e.g. serpentinite, steatite and possible microgranite/granodiorite) or even further afield are also encountered, albeit in very limited numbers. These materials occur at the site only in a worked form which suggests that they entered the site as finished objects9. The objects may have been acquired either through direct procurement or through exchange networks. In either scenario the acquisition of these objects may have been incorporated within other procurement practices that were at work at Sissi (e.g. obsidian procurement).

30For the production of grinding tools sedimentary rocks (sandstone and limestone of different qualities) tend to be used more frequently, followed by metamorphic quartzite. When the various categories of grinding tools are considered, the abrasive capacities of sandstone were sought after for upper and lower grinding tools. Abraders were made of fine to medium grained sandstone, quartzite and pumice, while for polishing tools raw materials with less abrasive texture such as fine-grained limestone and marble were chosen. In the case of percussive tools, mainly metamorphic rocks and in particular quartzite were employed; quartzite specimens due to their physical properties would have been able to withstand impact force efficiently. Serpentinite and steatite was used for formal objects and in particular for stone vases, ornaments as well as for a small-sized pestle. An issue to explore is whether the serpentinite used for the above categories corresponds to the type of serpentinite used for seal stones (e.g. seal stone 10-06-2055-0B002 in Space 6.1-see Sissi II: 171) or whether different varieties of serpentinite were used for different types of objects.

3.3. Production processes

31The Sissi ground stone assemblage can be divided into tools that do not bear any evidence of deliberate modification prior to use and thus represent expedient tools or outils a posteriori (Wright 1992: 57, fn 38), and others, such as stone vases, grinding slabs, mortars, pestles and ornaments, that have been deliberately modified to acquire their specific shape and surface finish and thus represent formal object categories. Seven manufacturing techniques have been recorded (flaking, pecking, hammering, grinding, polishing, incising and drilling), while a combination of these techniques (e.g. pecking and grinding) is also attested in a few cases.

32Percussive tools are mainly water-worn cobbles that exhibit damage on one or both ends and with no modification of the natural weathered surfaces prior to use. In the case of perforated rings modification is limited to the area of the central perforation. The opening of the perforation was a two-stage process: initially direct percussion was applied on both faces to create a central depression and remove unwanted material, and then abrasion was used to complete the operation.

  • 10 During the recording of the ground stone assemblage a unique number that consists of the letters GS (...)

33Similar to grinding tools from other Aegean sites (cf. Runnels 1981; Tsoraki 2008), the Sissi grinding slabs and grinders (upper and lower grinding tools) have received minimal modification with manufacturing evidence limited to the preparation of the active use-face by pecking (as seen in GS8210/10-06-2059-OB002, fig. 10.3) and the margins (pecking and/or hammering), while the rest of the tool surface was left untreated. Some examples, however, have been shaped further; for instance, in the case of GS4/10-05-1929-OB008 one margin of the grinding tool has been modified by percussion flaking in order to create a hand grip, a comfort feature that would allow for better and more comfortable handling of the tool during use (fig. 10.6). Maintenance activities are attested occasionally on grinding tools: use-faces that through use have become too smooth to function efficiently have been re-pecked in order to retain the abrasive capacity of the tool.

34Overall, the rather minimal modification level encountered in the above implements contrasts greatly with pestles, stone vases and ornaments where natural surfaces have been completely modified through a more thorough manufacturing process. In these cases, grinding and polishing are the most frequent techniques visible on the surface of the objects, which have erased traces of the earlier stages of manufacture (e.g. pecking for shaping).

Fig. 10.6. A. GRINDING TOOL (GS4/10-05-1929-OB008) WITH HAND GRIP (COMFORT FEATURE) ON MARGIN. B. DETAIL OF MARGIN THAT HAS BEEN MODIFIED BY PERCUSSION FLAKING (C. TSORAKI/B. CHAN)

Fig. 10.7. IGNEOUS PESTLE FROM ZONE 3, ROOM 3.6 (GS152/11-03-0559-OB001) (PHOTO: CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

  • 11 Another possibility to explore is whether some of the stone vases, especially those found in Postpa (...)
  • 12 According to Blitzer (1995: 477) ‘in contrast to their frequent use in the Bronze Age Greek mainlan (...)

35As mentioned above, no blocks from primary sources have been unearthed at Sissi. If this is corroborated by the analysis of the remaining finds, it would suggest that not all stages of the production of stone vases took place on site; rather, the initial stages of the production/shaping of raw material took place off-site and stone vases entered Sissi potentially as rough-outs or at a semi-finished state or even as finished objects11. Similarly, the presence of the igneous pestle (GS152/11-03-0559-OB001) with the faceted profile found in Room 3.6 — a find thus far unique within the assemblage — points towards the exchange of finished objects between different communities and regions of Crete or further afield12. The pestle is made of a medium to coarse-grained igneous rock and, similar to the serpentinite pestle, is also of non-local origin. This finely worked example survives complete and its overall dimensions are 83.97 x 50.54 x 50.77 mm and weighs 264 g (fig. 10.7). The pestle is conical in shape and polygonal in section; the body of the tool has been nicely shaped through grinding and eight facets form on the body. The facets are not exactly of the same width, the majority being around 16.30 mm, while a couple are narrower. Both ends have been used: the use-face at the wider end is slightly convex and has pounding wear and smoothed grains, while on the body next to the use-face there is a negative removal from a flake detached possibly during use. The narrower end has a more convex use face with mainly pounding wear and a flake removal on the body. Overall, this example stands out not only because of its rarity, but also in terms of its raw material and the careful working which contrasts greatly with the mainly expedient use of local materials for tools that have been modified mainly through use and have not undergone different stages of manufacture. It is clearly a more elaborate example. Examples of finely worked pestles are known from Neopalatial contexts at Knossos, Palaikastro, Gournia and Mochlos (cf. Evely 1984; Carter 2004: 65). Emphasis on the aesthetic properties of these implements, either in terms of colour patterning or in the quality of the finishing, has been highlighted in other cases as well (cf. Evely 1984).

36A similar suggestion for the exchange of finished objects could be made for the tripod mortar found in Zone 5 (Sissi II: 151, fig. 6.14). Overall, tripod mortars are not well represented within Cretan sites, with ca. 25 currently known examples, deriving mainly from sites in North-central and Eastern Crete (Warren 1969: 115-117; Carter 2004: 77 and references therein). Warren, following Buchholz, refers to this type of mortars as ‘Syro-Palestinian tripod mortars’ (1969: 115) and the prevailing opinion is that the majority of the examples found in Crete are Aegean imports (Evely 1993: 112; Carter 2004: 77).

3.4. Use/Reuse

37The majority of the ground stone implements have been moderately used and less than 4% of tools had been heavily used or worn out as suggested by the degree of wear and the number of use-faces on each object. Secondary use/reuse of ground stone objects occurs rather rarely at Sissi and it materialises mainly in the incorporation of large-size grinding tools in constructions/walls as building materials (e.g. large quern set in the wall/stone platform in room 3.2 with the concave use-face facing upwards, fig. 10.8 & Sissi II: 126, fig. 5.60).

Fig. 10.8. LARGE-SIZED QUERN SET IN THE WALL/STONE PLATFORM IN ROOM 3.2 WITH THE CONCAVE USE-FACE FACING UPWARDS (C. TSORAKI)

3.5. Preservation

  • 13 Fire-cracked rocks or potboilers may occur in food preparation areas such as ‘kitchens’ in close pr (...)

38The condition of the ground stone artefacts was recorded in order to assess possible use and discard practices; for instance, the presence of burning could either be the result of the use of stone for heat retention for possible cooking activities13 (e.g. fire-cracked natural pebbles and cobbles) or could be indicative of discard practices (e.g. deliberate or accidental destruction). Overall, ground stone objects survive in good condition and ca. 50% of the objects survive complete. Grinding slabs tend to be found broken, with the length being the main incomplete dimension. This type of fragmentation is as expected for large-sized objects. This contrasts to the condition of smaller-sized objects such as polishers that survive complete. Use or destruction with fire of ground stone objects does not seem to have played an important role at Sissi as less than 3% of objects show evidence of burning.

39With the exception of a few complete or almost complete examples (cf. Sissi II: 78, fig. 4.11g), stone vases survive most often in a fragmentary state (body fragments). A preliminary assessment of the stone vase assemblage suggests that these fragments are completely polished and seem to belong to finished vases that were broken during use or during various destruction events, and not to vases that broke accidentally during manufacture.

4. Preliminary observations on the spatial distribution of ground stone objects

40Analysis of the spatial distribution of ground stone artefacts is of great importance as this type of analysis may shed light on the nature of activities that took place in different contexts (e.g. internal vs. external areas), while it can also provide insights into the organisation of food preparation and craft production. The following sections will concentrate on material from particular contexts, the study of which is more advanced. Since the study of the ground stone assemblage is incomplete, the following results are mostly tentative in nature.

4.1. Building BC (Zone 2)

Tab. 10.2. THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE RECORDED GROUND STONE OBJECTS WITHIN BUILDING BC

  • 14 According to the excavation report of this zone (Sissi II: 78) a range of stone objects have been r (...)

41Thirteen objects have been studied from Zone 2, including upper (grinder) and lower grinding (querns/grinding slabs) tools, percussive tools, a cobble with a natural perforation and an unworked cobble of sandstone. In addition, a large boulder of schist, with no apparent use wear, has been recorded (Space 2.8). As the original surface of the boulder does not survive, it is not possible to assess whether this had in fact been used in some manner prior to discard (Table 10.2). In terms of raw materials, mainly sedimentary rocks (sandstone of different qualities, limestone, conglomerate) and quartzite have been used. The ground stone tools show minimal effort in their production: the grinding tools have been coarsely shaped with flaking/hammering along their margins with most emphasis placed on roughening the use-face of the tools through pecking and occasionally maintaining the surface roughness by re-pecking the use-face (e.g. GS125/10-02-1298-OB001). The majority of the artefacts survive incomplete and were lightly or moderately used prior to their discard as suggested by the degree of wear, number of use-faces (most objects have only one use-face) and lack of repeated maintenance episodes. Although ground stone assemblages only provide very coarse resolution as chronological indicators, the tools from Zone 2 show similarities with other LMI assemblages in Crete (e.g. Mochlos-Carter pers. com), which corroborates the dating suggested by the pottery. The studied material comes mainly from Spaces 2.6 and 2.8 and one object from Space 2.1214 (Table 10.2.).

42Space 2.6 gave a complete grinder (GS131/10-02-1260-OB001) with a convex use-face with overall dimensions 101.05 x 75.13 x 45.32 mm and a grinding slab/quern (GS133/10-02-1289-OB002) with one concave use-face that survives incomplete. Based on the morphological characteristics of these tools, it is very likely that these had in fact been used together as part of a toolkit. According to the excavator (Sissi II: 71), Space 2.6 was used as a dumping place; if indeed the ground stone tools from this space relate to the dumping activities that took place there, it is interesting then that the tools were discarded although they had not yet reached a worn-out state but instead they could have continued to be used or recycled, if required. Two further grinding tools were found in Space 2.8: a quartzite (GS125/10-02-1298-OB001) and a sandstone quern (GS126/10-02-1295-OB001) that both have only one concave use-face and survive incomplete. Both tools have moderate wear. The fact that grinding tools have been found in different areas of the building suggests that possibly grinding activities were performed in more than one room within one building. Interestingly, however, grinding tools and potentially grinding activities tend to concentrate in the North-east part of Building BC, where also the circular ammouda gourna /possible mortar (09-02-1235-FE001) was found in the north corner of Space 2.9. In fact this space gave a possible hammer/pestle that could have been used in conjunction with this gourna/mortar. A possibility to explore is whether the different spaces in the building were associated with different types of grinding activities (e.g. food processing vs. processing of clay and minerals). This needs to be considered in relation to the excavator’s suggestion that at the later stages of its use-life Space 2.8 was used as a food preparation area, an interpretation that is corroborated by the presence of a hearth and two tripod cooking pots among others large vases (Sissi II: 73). This interpretation will be further explored in conjunction with the results of the environmental analysis.

43In addition to the grinding tools, Space 2.8 gave also a water-worn limestone cobble with a natural perforation (GS124/10-02-1288-OB001), the diameter of which is 22 mm. This implement has natural surfaces that do not bear any visible wear. The natural perforation was most likely the reason this was brought to the site. As an isolated artefact, it is hard to suggest what function it fulfilled. The presence, however, of naturally perforated stones in this area needs to be considered in relation to the loom-weights and other perforated objects unearthed within Building BC and Spaces 2.6 and 2.8 in particular. Naturally perforated stones–commonly encountered in various Bronze Age sites such as Kommos (Blitzer 1995: 467-468)–could have been intentionally brought to the settlement to be used as loom-weights or as other types of weights. It is not very clear, however, how well this particular object could have worked as a type of weight and especially as a loom-weight due to its irregular shape and off-centre perforation, although use as a fishing weight is a possibility.

4.2. Building CD (Zone 3)

44The study of the Zone 3 ground stone assemblage is the most extensive to date as material from all previous excavation seasons has been assessed. In addition, material that was found in situ and is still on site has been assessed and is included in this report.

45One of the striking features of this zone is the relative large number of unusual raw materials such as the serpentinite pestle, the igneous (pink granodiorite/microgranite?) pestle, the phyllite whetstone, steatite ‘button’, and an indeterminate metamorphic rock of black-blue colour used as a whetstone/abrader.

4.2.1. Room 3.8/The Shrine

  • 15 This object was found in an area where traces of burnt earth and burnt pottery were encountered tog (...)

46Two spaces have been identified north of Room 3.8 (i. e. Room 3.9 & 3.10) which contained a concentration of water-worn pebbles and cobbles, small fragments of shell and a crab pincer (Sissi II: 89). Pebbles and cobbles were also present in Room 3.8, a sample of which was collected during excavation. They seem to be natural water-worn rocks of different sizes, colours and geologies (e.g. quartz, limestone/marble, quartzite, sandstone with well cemented grains). Within Room 3.8 a triangular stone has been found near wall C27, which has been interpreted as an offering table or a platform by the excavator (Sissi II: 92). Upon visual inspection of this stone, apart from a couple of flake removals on one margin, no other manufacturing and/or use-wear was detected. In the space between the wall and the triangular stone three kalathoi have been found in situ and inside one of them a percussive tool made of limestone was found (GS189/09-03-0514-OB006) (Sissi II: 89). The tool was moderately used on one end for pounding. This room also contained an object made of schist that due to burning has become very friable15 (GS192/09-03-0514-OB010) and a stone vase fragment (body) (GS200/09-03-0506-OB002) that shows no evidence for burning.

47Within Room 3.8 and against the West wall (C14) a double gourna made of ammouda, which has two circular concavities (depressions) (C27) was located (fig. 10.9). Due to weathering, the walls of the gourna do not survive complete and the original depth of the concavities cannot be measured. During the excavation scattered bone and shell fragments were identified in the area around the double gourna, which the excavator interpreted as the remains of offerings that were prepared in this room (Sissi II: 89). Interestingly, in this area next to the gourna a pounding tool made of quartzite was found that has pounding wear on both ends and survives in a good condition (GS 187/09-03-0513-SA004). Thus, this pounder could have been moderately used in conjunction with the gourna for crushing bone and shells.

Fig. 10.9. DOUBLE GOURNA (C27) WITH TWO CIRCULAR CONCAVITIES LOCATED IN ROOM 3.8 (C. TSORAKI)

  • 16 The deposition of a unique assemblage of ecofacts and artefacts including a large number of seashel (...)

48Overall, the ground stone assemblage from Room 3.8 suggests a very limited range of activities taking place there, mainly pounding ones, which fits well with the presence of crushed shells and bone found in this space. This contrasts with the assemblage from the nearby rooms where a wider range of activities seems to be represented (grinding, coarser abrasion, finer polishing, pounding). This together with the unique character of the rest of the finds recovered from Room 3.8 (see Sissi II: 89-92) clearly highlights the distinct function of the room within Building CD. The high occurrence of water-worn pebbles and cobbles raises the issue whether in fact natural rocks were intentionally deposited within this room perhaps as part of a ritual act. The deposition of water-worn pebbles in this context when seen together with the triton shells, other shell fragments and the crab pincer may be viewed as a deliberate act referencing the water/sea16 (see also Veropoulidou, this volume).

4.2.2. Room 3.1/The Hall

49Room 3.1, sited on the summit of the Kefali hill, represents the central space of Building CD. This room contained a relative large number of ground stone objects of both portable and stationary character, the latter used in connection with other fixed structures. Among the interesting contexts within Zone 3/Building CD is the bin (C31) located in the south-west corner of Room 3.1. The bin contained twelve objects that are mainly water-worn cobbles and pebbles of various sizes and mainly made of quartzite and limestone (fig. 10.10). The vast majority, with a couple of exceptions, survive complete and do not show clear evidence for use. This may suggest that these objects had been used lightly as polishers and/or abraders and thus this light use did not alter the texture of their surface. Another possibility to explore is whether this assemblage of cobbles and pebbles potentially represents the storage of raw materials and objects for future use (raw material reserve). Storing, however, material that exists in large numbers in the immediate vicinity of the settlement seems rather puzzling. This raises the possibility whether the storage of the natural water-worn rocks was not intended for strictly functional reasons, but instead this act may be seen in relation to the presence of natural pebbles and cobbles that have been deposited within Room 3.8.

Fig. 10.10. OBJECTS FOUND IN BIN (C31) LOCATED IN THE SOUTH-WEST CORNER OF ROOM 3.1 (B. CHAN)

50Among the material stored within this feature the only implements that show clearer evidence for use is a rectangular abrader with light wear (GS 110/10-03-0533-OB011), a cobble with pecking on its margin (GS 115/10-03-0533-OB002) and a small sized pestle (GS 111/10-03-0533-OB007). The latter stands out in terms of raw material (made of serpentinite which has been used almost exclusively for stone vases and seal stones), object type (pestles are very rare at Sissi) and degree of wear (both ends have been used relatively heavily and in fact part of the tool use-face was detached due to use).

51In close proximity to this constructed bin (C31), another feature (C34) is located that consists of two slabs: one is made of ammouda and has a circular shallow depression/concavity and the other slab is made of limestone (sidheropetra). Overall, the former tool is well shaped with pecking and chiseling marks visible on its margins. The depression, which is not centrally located, is 185 mm wide and 29.83 mm deep (maximum depth). The interior of the concavity was pecked and the bottom of the concavity has both abrasive (it is smoothed in places) and pounding wear from use. The slab next to it has an uneven surface and looks natural. The excavator has interpreted them as a worktop/working surface and a seat (Sissi II: 96). At this stage it is not possible to link the material stored in the bin with the possible function of this feature, with the exception possibly of the serpentinite pestle and the slab with the circular depression.

52Another feature that was revealed in this room is a semi-circular stone structure (C30) built against Wall C18 which was interpreted as a possible pot-stand (Sissi II: 96). This structure seems to have been used in connection with a stone tool made of conglomerate that has a centrally located circular concavity that is 24.62 mm deep and ca 152-157 mm wide (fig. 10.11). The tool has been used for a grinding activity rather than a pounding one as the wear in the interior of the concavity suggests (i. e. smoothed grains that are levelled). This tool, that seems to have rested on the wall, functioned as a shallow mortar and is part of a stationary grinding structure. Pottery vessels placed in the pot-stand would have facilitated the collection of the processed substance during processing. Yet, it should be pointed out that the small size of the concavity would have allowed only for small quantities of material (organic or inorganic) to be processed at a time. It is worth considering whether its use was meant for products that were not used or consumed in large quantities and/or not regularly. The stationary character of this installation would have ramifications for the organisation and use of this space.

Fig. 10.11. SHALLOW MORTAR FOUND IN ROOM 3.1 IN RELATION TO A SEMI-CIRCULAR STRUCTURE (C30) (AFTER REPOSITIONING) (C. TSORAKI)

4.2.3. Room 3.6

53One of the issues that was explored with regards to the material from this zone was whether Room 3.6 may have been used as a workshop (possibly of stone vases) due to the nature of the materials recovered from this area thus far. Indeed the ground stone assemblage from this room and Zone 3 as a whole presents some variability in assemblage composition (in terms of the object types, raw materials and activities represented) when compared to other buildings/zones.

54One of the expectations was that if this space (Room 3.6 along with Room 3.4, 3.3 and the area between Rooms 3.3 and 3.4) was a stone-working area there would be a considerable amount of discarded stone debris, possible roughouts and unfinished objects or rejected material that fractured during manufacture along with finished objects and blocks of raw material (as is the case, for instance, at the Atelier des Sceaux at Quartier Mu, Poursat 1996: 103-110). Room 3.6, however, was characterised by the lack of manufacturing debris, also confirmed by the absence of micro-debitage in the flotation samples taken from this room, the processing of which did not show any higher concentration of stone fragments, or the presence of unusual rocks. Overall, these samples did not stand out in any way from other flotation samples and no unusual quantities of other materials, seeds, charcoal, or shells were noted (Livarda & Environmental team, pers. comm.). The evidence for the occurrence of manufacturing debris in the area adjacent to Room 3.6 is equally very limited: only one bore core (GS 174/08-03-0451-0B006) was found in Room 3.3. Yet, the limited presence of manufacturing waste by-products was noted in the Artisan’s Quarter at Neopalatial Mochlos as well as in other Minoan and Egyptian workshops (Warren 1969: 157-158; Carter 2004: 82). A possibility to explore is whether this space was intentionally cleaned out regularly which would have resulted in the dumping of the waste perhaps in an external area.

  • 17 According to Carter (2004: 72) drill-guides are defined as ‘cobbles with a straight-edged channel o (...)

55Another element to consider with regards to the use of this area as a workshop is the type of tools present. Room 3.6 has the largest concentration of abrading and polishing tools of any other room in this building. This concentration suggests that these tools were in fact part of an abrasive/smoothing/polishing toolkit employed for a continuum of abrasive activities (from coarser to finer degree of abrasion, an equivalent of the varying degrees of the abrasiveness of modern sandpaper). Further polishing tools have been found in the area between Room 3.3 and 3.4 (GS163/08-03-0486-OB002; GS169/08-03-0482-OB002), in Room 3.3 (GS171/08-03-0454-OB003) along with a grinder (GS179/08-03-0454-OB002) and a rectangular whetstone (GS173/08-03-0463-OB001) made of phyllite (fig. 10.1). Interestingly, however, no drill-guides17 or other tools, traditionally linked with stone vase production such as spherical/sub-cuboid rotary grinders, have been found in this area of the building (see for instance Carter 2004: 82 for a possible toolkit used in the production of stone vases in Building A, Room 1 at Mochlos).

  • 18 Apart from its abrasive capacities, pumice also has insulating properties while its light-weight al (...)
  • 19 The use of pumice for abrading activities is attested at Late and Final Neolithic levels at Knossos (...)

56This emphasis on abrasive activities needs to be considered in tandem with the large amount of pumice stored in pithoi in this area (Room 3.6 and space between Room 3.3 and 3.4) that has already been discussed by the excavator (Sissi I: 97-98; Gaignerot & Driessen 2012). Pumice, a volcanic rock, is well known for its abrasive properties18 and has been used as an abrasive in prehistoric Crete either in a nodular form (Evely 1993; Blitzer 1995; Neolithic19 and Bronze Age Knossos, pers. observation), or in powdered form. Thus far, a quick assessment of the recovered pumice highlights the very small number of pumice nodules with evidence for use in abrasive activities (i. e. nodules bearing grooves, etc). The vast majority of the pumice assemblage does not show any evidence for deliberate modification through use and survives in an unworked state; this raises the possibility that pumice was collected and stored in order to be used in a powdered form after it had been processed.

57In addition to these tools and the pumice nodules, a small number of stone vase fragments have been recovered from this area along with a serpentinite Mycenaean ‘button’, a steatite bead (GS159-11/03/0570/OB001) and the finely worked pestle (see Gaignerot, this volume). It should be noted that none of these objects represents unfinished or semi-finished objects.

4.3. Building CD (Zone 4)

58Excavations at Zone 4 have brought to light a series of rooms, which form part of the large building complex CD (Sissi I: 129-138; Sissi II: 103-141). Some of the excavated contexts provide interesting insights into the use and storage of grinding tools.

4.3.1. Room 4.8

59One of the objects of great interest in this room is a quern (09-04-0747-OB001), which according to the excavator was part of an installation (D30) that consisted of a thick slab and a storage vessel (Sissi II: 114, fig. 5.40). The positioning of the quern–it was found lying upside down–may suggest that the quern was deliberately placed with its use-face facing downwards in order to protect the use-face during periods when the tool was not in use. This storage practice is well documented ethnographically (cf. Roux 1985). The vessel found next to the quern could have been used for the collection of the processed substances during the grinding activity, while the stone slab may have been used in order to keep the quern stable during use. The morphology of the quern (saddle quern with concave use-face along the long axis) possibly suggests food-processing. It should be noted that in this area the highest concentration of marine food remains was found (Veropoulidou, this volume) along with charred plant remains (Livarda, pers. com.). This hypothesis will be further explored in the future when the tool is subjected to detailed study and the study of the environmental samples is completed.

4.3.2. Room 4.13

  • 20 As these tools were recovered in the 2009 excavation season, they have not been studied yet.

60Similar to Room 4.8, indications about storage practices of grinding tools are also offered from Room 4.13. This room, located to the east of Room 4.11, contained a ‘closet-like’ construction (D44), where a number of possible stone tools20 were stored together with a grinding slab and a terracotta slab (Sissi II: 127, fig. 5.63). Interestingly, the possible stone tools had been placed underneath the grinding slab which was positioned with the use-face facing downwards. As suggested previously, this particular configuration has been linked with storage practices intended to protect the use-face of grinding tools when these are not being used. The positioning of the tools taken together with the overall character of their placement suggests that D44 relates to the storage of grinding tools (cf. Sissi II: 127).

61In summary, excavations in Building CD (Zones 3 & 4) brought to light more than 100 ground stone objects, debitage and unworked nodules. The preliminary results of the spatial analysis show an uneven distribution of finds within Building CD, as well as an uneven distribution of artefact types (and thus potentially activities represented), a picture that might change once the whole assemblage of this building is taken into consideration. There seems to be a concentration of objects in the southern part of the building and in rooms that are in close proximity to Room 3.8 (The Shrine). Interestingly, however, Room 3.8 contained only a few tools, and mainly a large number of natural pebbles. Room 3.6 has a larger concentration of abrading and polishing tools than any other room in this building, a concentration that suggests that these tools were in fact part of an abrasive/polishing toolkit. This emphasis on abrasive activities needs to be considered in relation to the vast quantities of pumice unearthed from this area (Sissi I: 97-98; Gaignerot & Driessen 2012). The use of this room for stone working will be further explored in the future.

62Furthermore, evidence for the storage of grinding tools, along with fixed grinding installations and the numerous occurrences of gournas/basins found in various rooms within Building CD suggests that grinding activities were activities linked to the internal organisation of the building and would have played an important role in the way rooms and spaces would have been used. The processing of foodstuffs and liquids seems to have been performed within interior spaces of the building in order to facilitate possibly the organisation of particular events.

63Overall, variation in objects and potentially activities between the different rooms of Building CD, if indeed confirmed, may suggest differences in the way the space was used where different set of activities were performed in particular areas. Whether this division of space may reflect further social and/or gendered divisions, is a question to be explored in more detail in the future.

4.4. Zone 5 and Pit FE087

64Sixty-four objects have been studied from Zone 5. This sub-assemblage comprises mainly grinding/abrasive tools (39.1%) – in particular grinders and grinding slabs/querns (ca. 27%) (fig. 10.4)–and percussive tools (26.6%). In fact, percussive tools occur more frequently within Zone 5 than in any other Zone, an observation which of course might change once the analysis of the whole ground stone assemblage is completed. Among the excavated contexts in this zone Pit FE087, located at the open area north of Building E, stands out due to the large amount of materials deposited within this context and the character of the deposition (Sissi II: 156-157; Devolder, this volume). This feature, dated to LM IIIA2 to LM IIIB, gave the largest concentration of ground stone objects (n=50) found at Sissi with the vast majority of the material (86%) deriving from the northern part of the pit and in particular from # 1927 and # 1929.

65Percussive tools of different sizes and raw materials have been found in pit FE087. In terms of raw materials, quartzite is the predominant material used followed by limestone. Their dimensions range from ca. 61 mm to 228 mm in length, ca. 46 to 128 mm in width and ca. 36 to 88 mm in thickness and their weight ranges from 154 g to 3100 g. The large size and the weight of the percussive tools found in this context, as well as the wear patterns encountered on their use-faces suggest that these tools had been employed in percussive activities that required heavy impact force such as building/construction activities. Yet, the condition of the tools does not suggest heavily used or worn out tools. The majority of the objects survive in good condition (also none of these shows evidence for burning): they are complete, almost complete or more than 2/3 of the tool surface survives. This suggests that the percussive tools had in fact been used for a relatively short period of time prior to their discard, possibly for a single event. This seems to fit with further observations made for the particular context. According to the excavator, the pit contained material that was linked to the clearing of a destruction deposit possibly within Building CD which among others contained mudbricks, plaster, and tarazza fragments. The tools seemed to have been discarded together with the remains of the destruction deposit in a single discard event (Sissi II: 156-157; Devolder, this volume).

66Apart from percussive tools the feature also contained grinding tools of different sizes. In fact, along the edges of the pit a large quern with a concave use-face has been found; this is the largest quern found on site to date and due to its size and weight it would have originally been used as a fixed/stationary grinding tool. Interestingly, along the margin of the tool that rests on the ground there is visible flaking (hinge fractures) that seems to have taken place after the tool was used (i.e. the flaking does not seem to relate to the manufacture/shaping of the tool but to a later stage of modification). This together with the fact that the use-face of the tool exhibits a very irregular breakage might suggest the dislocation of the tool from its original position (fig. 10.12). Similar to the percussive tools, grinding tools from this context also survive in good condition and have been used moderately.

Fig. 10.12. A. LARGE QUERN FOUND ON THE EDGE OF PIT FE087 LYING ON ITS SIDE. B. DETAIL SHOWING FLAKING (HINGE FRACTURES) ALONG THE MARGIN OF THE QUERN (C. TSORAKI)

67Overall, the condition of the tools deposited in this context suggests that these were discarded when still in usable condition and were by no means exhausted. This raises the possibility whether this act of discard represents a deliberate choice to take out of circulation a set of tools that had been previously associated with a particular event and thus were no longer deemed appropriate to be used in other activities. In that sense, the interpretation of this deposit in purely practical terms may not be sufficient and other parameters (e.g. social understandings and cultural proscriptions and prescriptions) that regulate the use and discard of material culture may need to be taken into consideration.

5. Acknowledgements

68I would like to thank Frank Carpentier, Maud Devolder, Florence Gaignerot-Driessen, Simon Jusseret, Quentin Letesson and Ilse Schoep for providing important contextual information. Charlotte Langohr, Florence Liard and Irene Kritikopoulos are kindly thanked for organizing the ground stone assemblage in the Apothiki, Ben Chan for assisting with the photography of objects and all the students for washing the ground stone artefacts. Sincere thanks to Simon Jusseret for offering advice and making suggestions on raw material identification during the 2011 study season. The preliminary assessment of the pumice from the 2010 campaign was conducted by Pierre Baulain, Nathalja Calliauw, Sarah Geijsels and Anneleen Rummens, whom I would like to thank for their diligence, enthusiasm and all their hard work. Finally, I would like to thank Jan Driessen for entrusting me with the study of the ground stone assemblage and for his excellent collaboration.

Bibliographie

6. References

▪ Adams 2002 = J. L. Adams, Ground Stone Analysis: a Technological Approach, Salt Lake City, 2002.

▪ Antonovic 2006 = D. Antonovic, Stone tools from Lepenski Vir, Belgrade, 2006.

▪ Blitzer 1995 = H. Blitzer, Minoan implements and industries, in J. W. Shaw & M. C. Shaw (eds), Kommos: An Excavation on the South Coast of Crete. Vol. I: The Kommos Region and Houses of the Minoan Town. Part I: The Kommos Region, Ecology, and Minoan Industries, Princeton 1995, 403-535.

▪ Carter 2004 = T. Carter, The Stone Implements, in J.S. Soles & C. Davaras, (eds), Mochlos IC. Period III. Neopalatial Settlementon the Coast: The Artisans’ Quarter and the Farmhouse at Chalinomouri. The Small Finds, 2004, 61-108.

▪ Evely 1984 = R.D.G. Evely, The Other Finds of Stone, Clay, Ivory, Faience, Lead etc, in M. R. Popham, The Minoan Unexplored Mansion at Knossos, BSA Supplementary Volume 17, 1984, 223-259.

▪ Evely 1993 = R. D. G. Evely, Minoan Crafts: Tools and Techniques. An Introduction. Vol. I (SIMA 92), 1993.

▪ Gaignerot & Driessen 2012 = F. Gaignerot-Driessen & J. Driessen, The Presence of Pumice in Late Minoan IIIB Levels at Sissi, in PHILISTOR: Studies in Honor of Costis Davaras, edited by Eleni Mantzourani & Philip P. Betancourt, INSTAPPress, Philadelphia (2012), 35-42.

▪ Hatzaki 2009 = E. Hatzaki, Structured deposition as ritual action at Knossos, in A. L. D’Agata & A. Van de Moortel (eds), Archaeologies of Cult: Essays on Ritual and Cult in Crete in honor of Geraldine C. Gesell, Hesperia, Suppl. 42, Princeton, ASCSA. 2009, 19-30.

▪ Poursat 1996 = J. C. Poursat, Fouilles exécutées à Malia. Le quartier Mu III. Artisans Minoens: Les Maisonsateliers du Quartier Mu, École Française d’Athènes, Athènes, 1996.

▪ Roux 1985 = V. Roux, Le Matériel de Broyage. Étude Ethnoarchéologique à Tichitt (R. I. Mauritanie), Paris, 1985.

▪ Runnels 1981 = C. N. Runnels, A Diachronic Study and Economic Analysis of Millstones from the Argolid, Greece, Ph. D. University Microfilms Michigan, Michigan, 1981.

Sissi I = J. Driessen, I. Schoep, F. Carpentier, I. Crevecoeur, M. Devolder, F. Gaignerot-Driessen, H. Fiasse, P. Hacigüzeller, S. Jusseret, C. Langohr, Q. Letesson & A. Schmitt, Excavations at Sissi. Preliminary Report on the 2007-2008 Campaigns (Aegis 1), Presses Universitaires de Louvain (2009).

Sissi II = J. Driessen, I. Schoep, F. Carpentier, I. Crevecoeur, M. Devolder, F. Gaignerot-Driessen, P. Hacigüzeller, V. Isaakidou, S. Jusseret, C. Langohr, Q. Letesson & A. Schmitt, Excavations at Sissi, II. Preliminary Report on the 2009-2010 Campaigns (Aegis 4), Presses Universitaires de Louvain (2011).

▪ Stroulia 2010 = A. Stroulia, Flexible Stones. Ground Stone Tools from Franchthi Cave. Excavation at Franchthi Cave, Greece, Fascicle 14, Indiana, 2010.

▪ Tsoraki 2008 = C. Tsoraki, Neolithic Society in Northern Greece: The Evidence of Ground Stone Artefacts. PhD. University of Sheffield, 2008.

▪ Tsoraki 2011a = C. Tsoraki, Stone-working traditions in the prehistoric Aegean: the production and consumption of edge tools at Late Neolithic Makriyalos. In V. Davis & M. Edmonds (eds), Stone Axe Studies III, Oxford, 2011, 231-44.

▪ Tsoraki 2011b = C. Tsoraki, Disentangling Neolithic Networks: Ground stone technology, material engagements and networks of action, in A. Brysbaert (ed.), Tracing prehistoric social networks through technology: a diachronic perspective on the Aegean, New York and London, 2011, 12-29.

▪ Warren 1969 = P.M. Warren, Minoan Stone Vases, Cambridge, 1969.

▪ Warren 1972 = P.M. Warren, Myrtos. An Early Bronze Age Settlement in Crete, London, 1972.

▪ Wright 1992a = K.I. Wright, Ground Stone Assemblage Variations and Subsistence Strategies in the Levant, 22,000 to 5,500 b. p. Ph. D. Yale University, 1992.

▪ Wright 1992b = K.I. Wright, A classification system for ground stone tools from the prehistoric Levant, Paléorient 18 (2), 1992, 53-81.

Notes

2 During the 2011 excavation campaign, material from different zones was rapidly assessed as well as objects still in situ were recorded, but these are not included in this report. References to some of these objects from Zone 3 are made in the relevant section.

3 Stone has been used extensively as building material at Sissi. A rapid assessment of the types of stone used for the construction of walls suggests that limestone and quartzite cobbles of different sizes were employed for construction purposes. These rock types also prevail within the ground stone assemblage. In that respect it is important to assess whether naturally weathered rocks found on site were brought to the site to be used as tools (hammerstones, grinders etc.) or as building material, or potentially for both practices indiscriminately. The detailed study of building materials by the architectural specialist will shed more light on this issue.

4 The direction (multidirectional/unidirectional) and the location (perpendicular to the long axis of the tool) of the striations are indicative of the kinetics involved during the grinding process.

5 Mortars could have been used in conjunction with stone or wooden pestles (Wright 1992).

6 Cautionary tales are provided from ethnographic work, where reference is made to the use of pestles on various surfaces such as the ground. For instance, Adams (2002: 138) refers to an ethnographic example from the U.S. Southwest where stone pestles were used for crushing clay on a blanket.

7 This type of use contrasts with sequential use (Adams 2002: 24); this term refers to the reuse of tools in an activity that does not permit the tool to function any longer in its primary use. In this case the same use-face is used for the different activities.

8 I would like to thank Florence Gaignerot-Driessen for giving me access to her unpublished work.

9 This suggestion may need to be revised once the whole ground stone assemblage is studied.

10 During the recording of the ground stone assemblage a unique number that consists of the letters GS (ground stone) and a number was allocated to each object. Throughout the discussion of the material both the GS no and the excavation object no. are given together.

11 Another possibility to explore is whether some of the stone vases, especially those found in Postpalatial levels, had in fact been manufactured in earlier periods and continued to be used in later periods (cf. Warren 1969: 190-191).

12 According to Blitzer (1995: 477) ‘in contrast to their frequent use in the Bronze Age Greek mainland and the Cyclades, intentionally shaped stone pestles are not common implements in Bronze Age Crete’. If this holds true, then the origin of the pestle might be sought outside Crete. Based on the form and dimensions of pestles found in the Unexplored Mansion, Evely (1984: 225-226) suggested that, in some cases, these were reworked bore cores from stone vase manufacture.

13 Fire-cracked rocks or potboilers may occur in food preparation areas such as ‘kitchens’ in close proximity to fire installations/thermal structures such as hearths and ovens. The use of hot stone technology for different type of cooking has been documented ethnographically (Adams 2002).

14 According to the excavation report of this zone (Sissi II: 78) a range of stone objects have been recovered within Space 2.12 that have not been analysed yet and thus are not included in this report.

15 This object was found in an area where traces of burnt earth and burnt pottery were encountered together with a fragment of a triton shell, a jug, a stirrup jar and a fragmentary vase (Sissi II: 89).

16 The deposition of a unique assemblage of ecofacts and artefacts including a large number of seashells and fish vertebrae within the two cists of the Temple Repositories has been interpreted by E. Hatzaki as an act of structured deposition with ritual connotations (Hatzaki 2009).

17 According to Carter (2004: 72) drill-guides are defined as ‘cobbles with a straight-edged channel of semi-circular profile worn into their surfaces, the result of the stone’s contact with a turning drill-shaft’.

18 Apart from its abrasive capacities, pumice also has insulating properties while its light-weight also makes it useful for construction purposes (see also Gaignerot & Driessen 2012).

19 The use of pumice for abrading activities is attested at Late and Final Neolithic levels at Knossos (Tsoraki in prep.).

20 As these tools were recovered in the 2009 excavation season, they have not been studied yet.

Table des illustrations

Légende Tab. 10.1. THE FREQUENCY OF THE RECORDED GROUND STONE ARTEFACTS IN ZONES 2-6
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 300k
Légende Fig. 10.1. (A) RECTANGULAR WHETSTONE (GS173/08-03-0463-OB001) FOUND IN ROOM 3.3 AND (B) DETAIL SHOWING THE LINEAR, MULTIDIRECTIONAL STRIATIONS VISIBLE ON THE USE-FACE OF THE WHETSTONE (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 200k
Légende Fig. 10.2. STONE RING WITH BICONICAL PERFORATION (GS79/10-06-2050-OB002) FROM SPACE 6.1 (B. CHAN)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Légende Fig. 10.3. GRINDER/POUNDING TOOL (GS 82/10-06-2059-OB002) FROM SPACE 6.1: A) PLAN VIEW OF THE TOOL WHERE RED ARROWS INDICATE THE RIDGES OF THE OVATE AREA CREATED AS A RESULT OF USE AGAINST A FLAT SURFACE. B) DETAIL OF THE REGULAR PECKING USED TO ROUGHEN THE SURFACE OF THE TOOL (B. CHAN)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Légende Fig. 10.4. RAW MATERIAL USE FOR GROUND STONE TECHNOLOGY AT BRONZE AGE SISSI (N= 170, EXCLUDING INDETERMINATE CASES)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Légende Fig. 10.5. PUMICE OBJECTS FROM ZONE 3: A. ABRADER (GS146/11-03-0554-OB002). B. PITTED/CUPPED OBJECT (GS147/11-03-0554-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Légende Fig. 10.6. A. GRINDING TOOL (GS4/10-05-1929-OB008) WITH HAND GRIP (COMFORT FEATURE) ON MARGIN. B. DETAIL OF MARGIN THAT HAS BEEN MODIFIED BY PERCUSSION FLAKING (C. TSORAKI/B. CHAN)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 116k
Légende Fig. 10.7. IGNEOUS PESTLE FROM ZONE 3, ROOM 3.6 (GS152/11-03-0559-OB001) (PHOTO: CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 72k
Légende Fig. 10.8. LARGE-SIZED QUERN SET IN THE WALL/STONE PLATFORM IN ROOM 3.2 WITH THE CONCAVE USE-FACE FACING UPWARDS (C. TSORAKI)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 232k
Légende Tab. 10.2. THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE RECORDED GROUND STONE OBJECTS WITHIN BUILDING BC
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 232k
Légende Fig. 10.9. DOUBLE GOURNA (C27) WITH TWO CIRCULAR CONCAVITIES LOCATED IN ROOM 3.8 (C. TSORAKI)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Légende Fig. 10.10. OBJECTS FOUND IN BIN (C31) LOCATED IN THE SOUTH-WEST CORNER OF ROOM 3.1 (B. CHAN)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Légende Fig. 10.11. SHALLOW MORTAR FOUND IN ROOM 3.1 IN RELATION TO A SEMI-CIRCULAR STRUCTURE (C30) (AFTER REPOSITIONING) (C. TSORAKI)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 216k
Légende Fig. 10.12. A. LARGE QUERN FOUND ON THE EDGE OF PIT FE087 LYING ON ITS SIDE. B. DETAIL SHOWING FLAKING (HINGE FRACTURES) ALONG THE MARGIN OF THE QUERN (C. TSORAKI)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2905/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 93k

© Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2012

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540