Kythera Island Project
Specific Stone Artefacts:
Chipped Stone
Ground Stone

Ground Stone

Principal Investigator:
Tania Gerousi (Fitch Laboratory, BSA)

KIP groundstone
Sandstone (left) and conglomerate (right) grinding stones. Photography by C. Broodbank 2003.

Analysis of the KIP groundstone was carried out in two study seasons in 2002-3. The techniques, tools and raw materials used for the manufacture and final shaping of these artefacts were distinguished macroscopically. The type of raw material (sandstone and conglomerate, both locally available) used for most of examples does not preserve particularly good evidence of use ware, especially given the conditions of intense erosion to which surface finds are subject. In some cases, surfaces were so abraded that it was difficult to decide if the studied item was an artefact or simply a rock fragment. Analysis remains in a preliminary stage, but the following comments can be made:

Grinding slabs/querns were made exclusively of sandstone and conglomerate, and significant variability has been observed in the forms/shapes employed. The sandstone ones show greater morphological variation while the conglomerate ones are more standardised, mainly of elliptical form. Concerning the above pattern, the issue of workability of the different raw materials used needs to be further explored before reaching any final conclusion. Few of the grinders studied were made of sandstone, while the majority comprised pebbles of crystalline limestone that could be collected and used without any further shaping. The same applies to pounders and polishers. It is interesting that, in most cases, sites show exclusive preferences for one or the other of the two main raw material types. This preference pattern can be seen even among sites of the same period, e.g. in the case of site 004, all types of ground stone tools were made exclusively of conglomerate while at site 006 of sandstone, indicating probably differential access to raw material sources and not simply differential workability of the material (both sites are of primarily EBA date).

There is a noticeable lack of morphological variability even among different periods. Limitations related to the workability of the raw materials used certainly need to be taken into consideration. The consistently larger number of ground stone tools found in prehistoric sites, in comparison to sites of other periods, is also worth mentioning. Plans for the 2004 season include ethnographic research on local manufacture and use of ground stone artefacts, and milling operations in recent centuries.

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