Publications of Veerle Rots
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See detailBlind-testing the quartz microwear method
Taipale, Noora ULiege; Lepers, Christian ULiege; Rots, Veerle ULiege

in Apel, Jan; Sundström, Lars (Eds.) Papers in honour of Kjel Knutsson (working title) (in press)

Blind tests have had an important role in the history of functional studies. They have been essential for both demonstrating the accuracy of functional interpretations and for discovering methodological ... [more ▼]

Blind tests have had an important role in the history of functional studies. They have been essential for both demonstrating the accuracy of functional interpretations and for discovering methodological pitfalls, including the problem of equifinality in microwear formation. Functional method for quartz has been in place since the late 1980s, mainly thanks to the pioneering work done by K. Knutsson. While the initial methodological efforts and subsequent archaeological applications have shown that the use of prehistoric quartz tools can be reconstructed in detail and that quartz assemblages can therefore contribute significantly to our understanding of past technologies and behaviours, the strength of the method has never been formally demonstrated through blind testing. We present here the results of a two-part single-analyst blind test involving 25 tools made of xenomorphic (vein) quartz and used either hand-held or hafted for different tasks. The test was aimed at a preliminary evaluation of the performance of low and high magnification approaches as well as their combination. The results are used to discuss the challenges involved in the analysis, and different solutions are proposed for meeting them in future studies. [less ▲]

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See detailLooking into Upper Paleolithic gear: the potential of an integrated techno-economic approach
Tomasso, Antonin ULiege; Rots, Veerle ULiege

in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (2021), 61

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See detailEvery hunter needs a knife: Hafted butchering knives from Maisières-Canal and their effect on lithic assemblage characteristics
Taipale, Noora ULiege; Rots, Veerle ULiege

in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (2021), 36

Despite the central role butchering tools have had in the origins and development of human technologies, they have been overlooked in technological and functional studies with few exceptions. We use new ... [more ▼]

Despite the central role butchering tools have had in the origins and development of human technologies, they have been overlooked in technological and functional studies with few exceptions. We use new results on the Gravettian assemblage from Maisières-Canal (Belgium) to illustrate how butchering knives were integrated in lithic production sequences and how the hafting, use and maintenance of these tools have affected the characteristics of the resulting lithic assemblage. The detailed low and high magnification analysis of a sample of knives, previously characterised as “tanged points”, “Maisières points”, and “tanged scrapers”, shows that these hunting knives were nearly always used hafted and had extensive use-lives. They were therefore an important component in the toolkits of the Gravettian hunter-gatherers occupying the site and are partly responsible for some of the most idiosyncratic traits of the lithic assemblage. These results underline the importance of maintaining a broad view of different tasks and needs to which toolkits responded, and encourage future studies to approach lithic assemblages from this perspective instead of prioritising projectile armatures. [less ▲]

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See detailFunctioneel onderzoek van Laat-Paleolithische en Vroeg-Mesolithische sites in Vlaanderen
Cnuts, Dries ULiege; Tomasso, Sonja ULiege; Coppe, Justin ULiege et al

Book published by Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed (2021)

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See detailMinimal Tools, Maximum Meat: A Pilot Experiment to Butcher an Elephant Foot and Make Elephant Bone Tools Using Lower Paleolithic Stone Tool Technology
Starkovich, Britt M.; Cuthbertson, Patrick; Kitagawa, Keiko et al

in Ethnoarchaeology (2021)

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See detailThe important role of bow choice and arrow fletching in projectile experimentation. A ballistic approach
Lepers, Christian ULiege; Rots, Veerle ULiege

in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (2020), 34

Projectile experiments are regularly performed in prehistoric studies, but few studies try to control the ballistic behaviour of the propulsion system used. The ballistic behaviour of a weapon is ... [more ▼]

Projectile experiments are regularly performed in prehistoric studies, but few studies try to control the ballistic behaviour of the propulsion system used. The ballistic behaviour of a weapon is determined by different variables. In the case of bow-and-arrow technology, important variables are the spine, the weight and the fletching of an arrow, next to the draw weight of the bow, its morphology and the materials used for its manufacture. Ballistic experiments are essential to understand the impact of each variable while using different combinations of bow and arrow. We present the results of ballistic experiments focussed on the impact of fletching and bow choice on an arrow’s behaviour. Measurements of the kinetic energy along the flight trajectory of different types of arrows show their highly variable behaviour depending on the type of fletching and the type of bow used. The results demonstrate (1) the importance of an informed choice of the bow and arrow combination used in projectile experiments to guarantee reliability and (2) the necessity to master the physical laws that are controlling weapon systems. [less ▲]

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See detailA 300.000 old throwing stick from the Palaeolithic site of Schöningen, northern Germany documents the evolution of human hunting
Conard, Nicholas J.; Serangeli, Jordi; Bigga, Gerlinde et al

in Nature Ecology and Evolution (2020)

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See detailChanges in hafting practices during the Middle Stone Age at Ifri n’ Ammar
Tomasso, Sonja ULiege; Cnuts, Dries ULiege; Mikdad, Abdeslam et al

in Quaternary International (2020)

The present use wear and residue analysis aims at identifying hafting practices during the Middle Stone Age at Ifri n’Ammar to improve insight in assemblage variability through time. Particular attention ... [more ▼]

The present use wear and residue analysis aims at identifying hafting practices during the Middle Stone Age at Ifri n’Ammar to improve insight in assemblage variability through time. Particular attention was devoted to the characteristics of the tanged and non-tanged tools to determine whether these morphological varieties were linked with different prehensile modes. The functional evidence suggests that the process of hafting seemed to be embedded in the technical system, and was not restricted to specific tool morphologies, or tool functions, but concerned a variety of tool types and functions, which is particularly relevant for a better comprehension of the Aterian. Moreover, the detailed analysis of hafting traces identified the integration of animal materials within the process of stone tool hafting as a key factor for changes in stone tool morphologies during the Aterian. [less ▲]

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See detailRevisiting Maisières-Canal (Hainaut, BE): New results on tool use and hafting
Taipale, Noora ULiege; Rots, Veerle ULiege

in Notae Praehistoricae (2020), 40

The Early Gravettian open-air site of Maisières-Canal (Belgium) is known for its rich lithic industry that involves unique tool designs such as large, elaborately manufactured tanged points. The flint ... [more ▼]

The Early Gravettian open-air site of Maisières-Canal (Belgium) is known for its rich lithic industry that involves unique tool designs such as large, elaborately manufactured tanged points. The flint exploited at the site is particularly fine-grained and exceptionally well preserved, and therefore an ideal subject for detailed technological and functional analyses. The site has also yielded a rich and diverse collection of osseous artefacts and their manufacturing waste as well as faunal remains informative of the Pleistocene environment and human subsistence strategies. Despite its conse- quently high potential for studies interested in Upper Palaeolithic technologies in their ecological and social context, the lithic assemblage has until recent years been studied from a functional point of view only to a limited extent. We present the results of the first use-wear study that included several tool categories as well as sizeable samples outside the collection of tanged tools. We analysed these artefacts with a combination of microscopic methods and could show that all the tool categories (burins, scrapers, scraper-burins, and pointed tools) bear evidence of hafting and allow a detailed reconstruction of tool use-lives. These results are informative of the tech- nical choices made by tool users at the site. We discuss the data with an eye on the recent results on osseous industry, and offer points of view to the nature and duration of site occupation. [less ▲]

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See detailToolkits in the Aterian technocomplex: new insights based on a use-wear analysis of the assemblages of Ifri n’Ammar.
Tomasso, Sonja ULiege; Rots, Veerle ULiege

in Hunter-gatherers tool-kit: a functional perspective (2020)

The Aterian technocomplex in North Africa has been known since the last century, but its definition is still an issue of debate, especially with regard to its technological characteristics, its ... [more ▼]

The Aterian technocomplex in North Africa has been known since the last century, but its definition is still an issue of debate, especially with regard to its technological characteristics, its chronological position in the Maghrebian Middle Palaeolithic and its broad geographical extension. Detailed techno-functional analysis of stone tools has the potential of revising our understanding of lithic industries and can contribute new types of data to the discussion on the definition and characteristics of the Aterian. We present here the case study of Ifri n’Ammar, a rock shelter located in the eastern Moroccan Rif, which contributes to our current knowledge about tool use, hafting and site function. The present study is the first functional analysis on an entire Aterian lithic assemblage and also the first occasion where the concept of toolkits is discussed in the context of this technocomplex. The results will thus form a basis for a broader discussion of Aterian toolkits. [less ▲]

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See detailApport de l’analyse tracéologique à la compréhension de l’assemblage lithique atérien d’Ifri n’Ammar : résultat d’une étude préliminaire sur l’assemblage de l’Occupation supérieure
Tomasso, Sonja ULiege; Mikdad, Abdeslam; Rots, Veerle ULiege

in Bulletin d'Archeologie Marocaine (2020), 24

L’existence d’outils pédonculés atériens parmi les techno-complexes du Middle Stone Age nord-africain est mentionnée depuis le début du siècle dernier. Depuis, l’Atérien a surtout été étudié d’un point de ... [more ▼]

L’existence d’outils pédonculés atériens parmi les techno-complexes du Middle Stone Age nord-africain est mentionnée depuis le début du siècle dernier. Depuis, l’Atérien a surtout été étudié d’un point de vue typologique et, plus récemment, technologique. En revanche, les données fonctionnelles sont extrêmement lacunaires. Nous présentons ici les résultats préliminaires d’une première étude fonctionnelle des assemblages lithiques d’Ifri n’Ammar, un abri rocheux situé dans le Rif oriental marocain. Le corpus archéologique a fourni une grande diversité d’outils lithiques, offrant l’opportunité d’aborder la question des adaptations morphologiques pour l’emmanchement. À plus grande échelle, l’objectif principal sera d’améliorer et d’enrichir la compréhension des assemblages du Middle Stone Age nord-africain avec l’apport d’une analyse fonctionnelle. [less ▲]

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See detailCold-climate toolkits: firemaking, lithic recycling and assemblage formation in the Magdalenian of Hohle Fels Cave
Taipale, Noora ULiege; Rots, Veerle ULiege; Conard, Nicholas J.

in Gibaja, Juan F.; Marreiros, João; Mazzucco, Niccolò (Eds.) et al Hunter-Gatherers' Tool-Kit: A Functional Perspective (2020)

Equipment used for fire-making must have formed an integral part of the toolkits of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, especially during cold periods and in regions where caves were exploited. Yet evidence of ... [more ▼]

Equipment used for fire-making must have formed an integral part of the toolkits of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, especially during cold periods and in regions where caves were exploited. Yet evidence of the use of flint in fire-making only becomes abundant towards the end of the Palaeolithic period. We present here a number of newly identified strike-a-lights from the Magdalenian occupation of Hohle Fels Cave (Swabian Jura, Germany), dated to between 16,300 and 14,700 cal BP. The artefacts are interpreted as strike-a-lights on the basis of relatively heavy rounding, scarring and linear features located at their extremities. Two of them also have deposits of red mineral residue that were deemed the possible degraded remains of sulphuric iron and further analysed with SEM-EDS. All the potential strike-a-lights presented here are recycled tools originally used for other activities. We use them as a basis for discussing the use of lithic raw material in hunter-gatherer toolkits in the younger part of the Upper Palaeolithic sequence of Hohle Fels. [less ▲]

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See detailTechnology and function of Middle Stone Age points in sub-Saharan Africa. Insights from a combined approach on Bushman Rockshelter, South Africa
Douze, Katja; Igreja, Marina; Rots, Veerle ULiege et al

in Groucett, Huw (Ed.) Culture history and convergent evolution: Can we detect populations in Prehistory? (2020)

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See detailBird bones from Trou de Chaleux and the human exploitation of birds during the late Magdalenian in Belgium
Goffette, Quentin; Germonpré, Mietje; Lefèvre, Christine et al

in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (2020)

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