Making tools, Reconstructing Manufacturing Processes: The Celt Industry of Varemeni Goulon in Northern Greece
Anna Stroulia Journal of Greek Archaeology 3 (2018): 47-74
Of all macrolithic types known from Neolithic Greece, cutting edge tools, or celts as they are widely known, have attracted most archaeological attention. This emphasis is certainly not explained by math. Celts have been studied more intensely, even though their numbers rarely exceed those of other macrolithic types (e.g. grinding tools). Other less straightforward factors are probably responsible – the disciplinary traditions in which we scholars operate and our aesthetic priorities, for example. Despite the extra attention, celt research has been imbalanced as well. Most studies focus on finished specimens. Detailed discussions of the manufacturing processes that produced these tools are generally lacking. This imbalance is due not to scholarly choices but rather two fundamental characteristics of the assemblages themselves. The first refers to composition: most assemblages consist primarily of finished tools. Attempts to reconstruct the manufacturing processes are largely based on indirect evidence, since the final manufacturing stage covered most traces of previous stages. The second characteristic refers to size: most assemblages are small, comprising no more than a few dozen specimens. With such low numbers, assessing concrete patterns in manufacturing processes and technological choices is largely infeasible.