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A Quantitative Approach to Neolithic Plant-working Techniques: From Assessing Tool Use to Modelling Human Dispersals


The QUANT project is designed to study the spread of the Neolithic in the Central and Western Mediterranean through an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to the flaked stone tools. Particular attention will be given to the study of the tools used for plant harvesting and processing tasks (i.e. sickle blades, blade scrapers, burins), which are the most evident innovations in flaked stone technology associated with the Neolithisation phenomenon. The aim is to highlight different traditions in plant-working techniques, and to determine how these were disseminated across the Mediterranean during the Neolithic expansion, between the seventh and the sixth millennium cal BC. The application of new technologies will be fundamental to the success of the project. Use-wear analysis of the stone tools will be integrated with confocal scanning microscopy in order to better analyse the plant-polish variability, which will contribute to the development of functional studies. Obtained results on the regional diversity of plant-working techniques will be modelled through computational approaches. By incorporating GIS-based cost-surface analysis it will be indeed possible to model the dispersal of the plant-working techniques observed, and thus explore the pathways and rhythms of expansion followed by Neolithic groups during their migrations across Mediterranean Europe. New technologies will also play a fundamental role in the presentation and diffusion of the data. An open access library containing photos, micrographs, and quantitative data on the analysed artefacts will be made fully available online. In addition, results will be made available to the general public through the creation of a blog and a website, and through several outreach activities. The project will be very profitable for both the proposer and the Host, and it will contribute notably to European excellence and competitiveness, enhancing public awareness of European history and past migrations.


Net EU contribution
€ 158 121,60
28006 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 158 121,60