Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

World Archaeology

For a Special Issue on

Lithic Ontologies

Manuscript deadline
29 February 2024

Cover image - World Archaeology

Special Issue Editor(s)

Chantal Conneller, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University
[email protected]

Aimee Little, Department of Archaeology, University of York
[email protected]

Astrid Nyland, Museum of Archaeology, Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Stavanger
[email protected]

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Lithic Ontologies

Stone tools are the most common prehistoric artefacts and are regarded as essential technology in the evolutionary success of our species.  From fire-making to hide-working, lithic tools have played a fundamental part of human life for millions of years. In past decades, studies of stone tools have moved beyond the typology/function debates of earlier decades. Social approaches, drawing particularly on object biographies and the chaine operatoire, have flourished. However the most successful social approaches have focused on special objects, such as axes and daggers; there has been rather less work exploring the significance of routine stone working and commonplace tools in people’s lives. Yet ethnohistorical accounts reveal that even stone caught up in mundane tasks can be significant and reveal different understandings of the world. Tracing such interactions between people and stone reveals ways places and materials were understood. Stone tools gain significance in their intersection with human bodies, in body modification, acts of warfare and funerary processing, and in their participation in other significant acts such as the killing of animals. This special issue invites contributions which explore new ontological frameworks for seemingly mundane lithic tools and technologies - welcoming those moving beyond functional accounts, placing new emphasis on tools as active participants, capable of extending and transforming bodies, and on occasion, interacting as gendered, sentient beings.

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