Preference for Porphyry: Petrographic Insights into Lithic Raw Material Procurement from Palaeolithic Kazakhstan

Abay Namen, Patrick Schmidt, Aristeidis Varis, Zhaken Taimagambetov, Radu Iovita

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Only a handful of stratified sites are known in loess, spring, and river contexts in the northern piedmonts of the Tian Shan, and the majority are dated to the Upper Palaeolithic. These sites have been studied from a geoarchaeological perspective; however, lithic procurement activities remain unknown. To address this deficiency, we present the results of the extensive field surveys aimed at locating prehistoric raw material sources in the Inner Asian Mountain Corridor of Kazakhstan. We also provide a detailed petrographic description of the lithologies exploited during the Palaeolithic of Kazakhstan. Based on the field survey results, combined with petrographic data, we conclude that the direct procurement strategy was the most common at the stratified sites. However, evidence of both direct and embedded procurement is found in the northern piedmonts of the Ili Alatau range at the site of Maibulaq. Additionally, we highlight the variation of chert lithologies within the larger Qaratau region, laying a foundation for future provenance studies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
    DOIs
    StateAccepted/In press - 2022

    Keywords

    • chert
    • geoarchaeological survey
    • Inner Asian Mountain Corridor
    • PALAEOSILKROAD
    • petrography

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Archaeology
    • Archaeology

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