Secrets of the Spearhead : Developing Continuum Mechanical Simulations and Organic Residue Analysis for the Study of Scandinavian Flint Spearhead Functionality

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Arkeologiska forskningslaboratoriet

Abstract: This thesis is a pilot study, designed to test and develop methods suitable for the study of Scandinavian flint spearhead functionality. The functionality of projectile and lithic point armament has not been studied for almost 30 years in Scandinavia. Meanwhile, methods used to analyse lithic projectiles have developed considerably. However, few of these methods are precise enough to be used in conjunction with Scandinavian stone technological analyses that emphasize the societal aspect of lithic points. Consequently, two methods were chosen that could provide data for Scandinavian research issues: 3D-scanning/continuum mechanical simulations and organic residue analysis. The methods were tested on 6 experimental spearheads. The continuum mechanical simulation generated both visual and numerical data that could be used to create precise functional-morphological descriptions. The data could also potentially be used for projectile point classification. The organic residue analysis revealed promising results for the use of an artefact and activity specific analysis, with a sequential extraction protocol. In unison, the results from both analyses could be used to reveal how spearheads were functionally designed and used in Stone Age Scandinavia, even though there are methodological and technological issues that need solving.

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