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138 Research products

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  • Authors: Durrant, Louis; Vadher, Atish N.; Teller, Jacques;

    Research into the sustainable management of the world's cultural heritage (CH) is increasing. This is due to the vulnerability of CH to climate-related disasters and the perceived contribution of CH to the achievement of broader sustainability goals. Despite the perceived benefits of bringing together CH and sustainability, researchers have identified barriers that slow integration. These barriers are theoretical and practical, and targeted research would help improve the resilience of our CH. This article aims to explore the perceptions of a group of UNESCO world heritage site managers (WHSM) on disaster risk management. A questionnaire was sent to WHSM via professional email boxes. The questionnaire consisted of 26 questions designed to explore the perception of WHSM. In total, 58 responses were received, and the results produced findings worthy of discussion. WHSM still have limited access to disaster risk management strategies or practical implementation experience. Practitioners in this field perceive multiple risks, not just those related to climate change. The researchers noted that there was a tendency to focus on the most immediate problem, rather than the full range of risks they might face. It is clear that there is an opportunity to improve resilience through knowledge sharing and better communication across all CH. This is also true of individual world cultural heritage sites, with opportunities to engage more effectively with local stakeholders. This article pinpoints the current perceptions of WHSM for the academic community and highlights critical avenues of research that will aid in the overarching theoretical and operational integration of CH and sustainability. https://shelter-project.com/ The SHELTER Project

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  • Authors: Taipale, Noora; Rots, Veerle;

    Functional data accumulated over the recent decades confirm that tool use mechanics, working edge maintenance, and hafting are important factors determining stone tool form. Yet such data are rarely considered in studies on lithic standardization, and tool hafting has entered the discussion mostly in the form of untested hypotheses. In this paper, we examine the effects of tool use, resharpening, and hafting on lithic standardization by drawing on recent use-wear data on Paleolithic domestic tools and projectiles. We evaluate morphological constraints posed by different tool use tasks and hafting systems, and the effects of these on blank selection. We conclude that the concept of standardization can be useful in making sense of lithic assemblage patterning, but it needs to be redefined to accommodate functional considerations. We advise shifting the focus from stone tool form to working edge qualities and hafted tool design, which drastically alters the perspective on inter-assemblage variability.

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  • Authors: Taipale, Noora; Lepers, Christian; Rots, Veerle;

    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.

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  • Authors: Masson, Christophe;
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  • Authors: Neri, Elisabetta; Mulliez, M; Capus, P; Strivay, David; +2 Authors

    The aim of the presentation is to discuss the ongoing study of the polychromy on marble sculptures from the villa of Chiragan (Martres-Tolosane, France), exposed at the Saint-Raymond Museum in Toulouse. This exceptional collection, dating from the long period of occupation of the villa (1st - 4th century), is composed by sixty portraits, mainly in oriental marble, as well as by a group of mythological sculptures and architectural decorations in local marble (Saint-Béat), including ornamental elements and masks. Pilasters, clipei and masks – some bacchic, others from theatrical repertoire – will be, here, examined. Following an analytical protocol, coupling visual observation through white light, UVL and IR, optical videomicroscopy and MA-XRF analysis, we confirm the presence of the pictorial finishing and the compositional nature of the preserved colours. In order to better understand and interpret the results of the physico-chemical analyses, and to sketch some elements of restitution, the analysed objects are systematically compared to the same objects represented in other coloured supports (wall paintings, mosaics or even the real materials in which the represented elements were made). The results of this work in progress may provide a better understanding of the initial appearance of certain works and, from a museographic point of view, a renewed reflection on the presentation of these works in the Musée Saint-Raymond in Toulouse and their visual impact.

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  • Authors: Neri, Elisabetta; Strivay, David;

    Polycroma

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  • Authors: Taipale, Noora; Chiotti, Laurent; Rots, Veerle;

    Projectile technology and hunting have significantly shaped the evolutionary trajectory of our species and continue to be among the most discussed and debated topics in Palaeolithic archaeology. In this contribution, we use the Gravettian of Abri Pataud (France) as a case study and argue that the examination of hunting equipment against faunal data can help refine our view of the causes of change in weapon technology and the lithic record. Insights gained from such work can also aid in interpreting older assemblages. Gravettian hunters targeted a broad variety of large and small game and may have contributed to megafauna extinctions at least regionally [1]. The evidence for this versatile and at times intense exploitation of fauna co-occurs in the archaeological record with distinct artefact types suggestive of projectile function, including tanged points, Gravette and microgravette points, and fléchettes. However, few studies exist that would reliably confirm the function of these artefacts, and practically none have examined diachronic changes in Gravettian weapon design using lithic functional data. Our knowledge of how projectile design interacted with different hunting strategies and situations is therefore limited. In this contribution, we present the first functional study on projectile material from the Recent Gravettian (c. 24,000 BP) and Final Gravettian (c. 22,000 BP) layers of Abri Pataud. We used low and high magnification use-wear analysis and experimental reference material to reliably identify lithic armatures in the two assemblages. We singled out the artefacts with strongest evidence of projectile use and recorded the attributes of impact damage on them in detail. By comparing these data, we were able to detect changes in weapon preferences from the Recent Gravettian to the Final Gravettian. While it has been previously proposed that the abundant backed bladelets in Final Gravettian assemblages represent the replacement of distally hafted Gravette and microgravette points by composite points [2], we could show that composite points were already in use during the Recent Gravettian occupations and that their dominance in the Final Gravettian therefore represents a shift in weapon preferences that drew on pre-existing technical solutions. We examined these results against recent faunal data [3-4] and observed that prey choice alone does not explain the change in weaponry, as both Recent and Final Gravettian hunters at Pataud focused rather heavily on reindeer. Instead, the preference of composite points appears to be linked to seasonal organisation of hunting activities, motivated by the behaviour of the main prey species in different times of the year, and possibly to other factors having to do with the winter conditions during the Final Gravettian occupations. Our reading of the lithic and faunal data implies that hunting technologies were subject to local changes in environmental conditions and social organisation. The global archaeological record suggests that composite points were used at different times in varying contexts [5], which can be interpreted as fluctuations in weapon preferences according to specific conditions. We therefore propose that large-scale patterns in the prehistoric lithic record should be explained with these particularities in mind. As a consequence, detailed study of individual site contexts with a good level of lithic and organic preservation can help defining the underlying causes of long-term technological change and stability. References: [1] Drucker, D.G., Vercoutère, C., Chiotti, L., Nespoulet, R., Crépin, L., Conard, N.J., Münzel, S.C., Higham, T.F.G., van der Plicht, J., Lázničková-Galetová, M., Bocherens, H., 2015. Tracking possible decline of woolly mammoth during the Gravettian in Dordogne (France) and the Ach Valley (Germany) using multi-isotope tracking (13C,14C,15N,34S,18O). Quaternary International 359, 304–317. [2] Klaric, L., Guillermin, P., Aubry, T., 2009. Des armatures variées et des modes de productions variables. Réflexions à partir de quelques exemples issus du Gravettien d’Europe occidentale (France, Portugal, Allemagne). Gallia Préhistoire 51, 113–154. [3] Cho, T.-S., 1998. Étude archéozoologique de la faune du Périgordien supérieur (couches 2, 3 et 4) de l’abri Pataud (Les Eyzies, Dordogne) : paléoécologie, taphonomie, paléoéconomie. Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. [4] Crépin, L., 2013. Données archéozoologiques des grands mammifères. In: Nespoulet, R., Chiotti, L., Henry-Gambier, D. (Eds.), Le Gravettien Final de l’abri Pataud (Dordogne, France), Fouilles et Études 2005-2009 (BAR International Series 2458). Oxford: Archaeopress, 63–88. [5] de la Peña, P., Taipale, N., Wadley, L., Rots, V., 2018. A techno-functional perspective on quartz micro-notches in Sibudu’s Howiesons Poort reveals the use of barbs in hunting technology. Journal of Archaeological Science 93, 166–195.

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  • Authors: Taipale, Noora; Tomasso, Sonja; Michel, Marine; Rots, Veerle;

    The field of use-wear quantification has seen significant methodological efforts as well as the first archaeological applications in the recent decades, and progress is currently being made in refining techniques to distinguish quantitatively between worn surfaces resulting from tool use. Yet, as it currently stands, use-wear quantification is embedded in an essentially qualitative analytical framework that requires the analyst to be fully trained in “traditional” use-wear analysis to successfully quantify wear. In this paper, we propose ways in which quantitative analysis could be developed further as a meaningful component of qualitative use-wear approach instead of its competitor. Quantitative approaches have mainly focused on polish, but using experimental and archaeological case studies, we highlight four other key points: 1) we state that different forms of edge damage play a crucial role in determining tool use but have largely escaped quantification efforts, 2) we add further data to discuss differences in wear formation on various lithic raw materials and the challenges of finding a one-for-all protocol that could be also applied quantitatively, 3) we demonstrate the difficulties in interpreting trace causality through quantification, and 4) we discuss ways in which the problem of altered use-wear could be approached by future quantification efforts based on our recent experimentation as well as analysis of archaeological material from varied contexts. By contextualising surface metrological approaches, we propose analytical challenges to which they could respond and identify aspects that have thus far been underdeveloped. In doing so, we hope to present wear quantification as a useful component in a comprehensive, sequential use-wear approach that employs different scales of observation in a stepwise manner and relies on rigorous testing of protocols and analyst competence as well as their transparent reporting.

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  • Authors: Searle, Adam;

    This paper builds upon qualitative research in El Museo del Bucardo – The Bucardo Museum – an exhibition space in the village of Torla, high in the Spanish Pyrenees. The bucardo was declared extinct on 6 January 2000 and rose to international fame three years later when scientists in Zaragoza delivered a bucardo clone; this event is commonly portrayed around the world as ‘the first de-extinction’. Taxidermic remains of the last bucardo were absent from public view for years, yet they finally returned to Torla in 2013 following years of campaigning from local activists, and El Museo del Bucardo was founded. I draw upon interviews and archival material to present an environmental history of the bucardo as told through the lens of the museum, one which sets out to ‘recover memory’ and institutionalize the bucardo’s legacy. In the museum, bucardo afterlives continue to shape understandings of situated Pyrenean wildlife. I examine El Museo del Bucardo’s role in generating meaning in an epoch characterized by mass extinction and the spectacle of technofixes in the form of de-extinction science.

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  • Authors: Neri, Elisabetta; Nasr, Nesrine; Strivay, David;

    Few instances of material evidence for ancient colour restorations have been documented over the last 20 years, during which time the scientific approach to the study of polychromy has been defined. This article presents eight new cases of ancient restoration of colour from the Roman Imperial Age. By combining observations in visible and UV light and video microscopy with a microstratigraphic approach, MA-X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and contextual archaeological data, we have observed evidence which could suggest an aesthetic change in the use of colour between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE: from polychrome and multitone effects to the use of monochromatic, flat, and uniform colour finishes.

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138 Research products
  • Authors: Durrant, Louis; Vadher, Atish N.; Teller, Jacques;

    Research into the sustainable management of the world's cultural heritage (CH) is increasing. This is due to the vulnerability of CH to climate-related disasters and the perceived contribution of CH to the achievement of broader sustainability goals. Despite the perceived benefits of bringing together CH and sustainability, researchers have identified barriers that slow integration. These barriers are theoretical and practical, and targeted research would help improve the resilience of our CH. This article aims to explore the perceptions of a group of UNESCO world heritage site managers (WHSM) on disaster risk management. A questionnaire was sent to WHSM via professional email boxes. The questionnaire consisted of 26 questions designed to explore the perception of WHSM. In total, 58 responses were received, and the results produced findings worthy of discussion. WHSM still have limited access to disaster risk management strategies or practical implementation experience. Practitioners in this field perceive multiple risks, not just those related to climate change. The researchers noted that there was a tendency to focus on the most immediate problem, rather than the full range of risks they might face. It is clear that there is an opportunity to improve resilience through knowledge sharing and better communication across all CH. This is also true of individual world cultural heritage sites, with opportunities to engage more effectively with local stakeholders. This article pinpoints the current perceptions of WHSM for the academic community and highlights critical avenues of research that will aid in the overarching theoretical and operational integration of CH and sustainability. https://shelter-project.com/ The SHELTER Project

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  • Authors: Taipale, Noora; Rots, Veerle;

    Functional data accumulated over the recent decades confirm that tool use mechanics, working edge maintenance, and hafting are important factors determining stone tool form. Yet such data are rarely considered in studies on lithic standardization, and tool hafting has entered the discussion mostly in the form of untested hypotheses. In this paper, we examine the effects of tool use, resharpening, and hafting on lithic standardization by drawing on recent use-wear data on Paleolithic domestic tools and projectiles. We evaluate morphological constraints posed by different tool use tasks and hafting systems, and the effects of these on blank selection. We conclude that the concept of standardization can be useful in making sense of lithic assemblage patterning, but it needs to be redefined to accommodate functional considerations. We advise shifting the focus from stone tool form to working edge qualities and hafted tool design, which drastically alters the perspective on inter-assemblage variability.

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  • Authors: Taipale, Noora; Lepers, Christian; Rots, Veerle;

    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.

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  • Authors: Masson, Christophe;
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  • Authors: Neri, Elisabetta; Mulliez, M; Capus, P; Strivay, David; +2 Authors

    The aim of the presentation is to discuss the ongoing study of the polychromy on marble sculptures from the villa of Chiragan (Martres-Tolosane, France), exposed at the Saint-Raymond Museum in Toulouse. This exceptional collection, dating from the long period of occupation of the villa (1st - 4th century), is composed by sixty portraits, mainly in oriental marble, as well as by a group of mythological sculptures and architectural decorations in local marble (Saint-Béat), including ornamental elements and masks. Pilasters, clipei and masks – some bacchic, others from theatrical repertoire – will be, here, examined. Following an analytical protocol, coupling visual observation through white light, UVL and IR, optical videomicroscopy and MA-XRF analysis, we confirm the presence of the pictorial finishing and the compositional nature of the preserved colours. In order to better understand and interpret the results of the physico-chemical analyses, and to sketch some elements of restitution, the analysed objects are systematically compared to the same objects represented in other coloured supports (wall paintings, mosaics or even the real materials in which the represented elements were made). The results of this work in progress may provide a better understanding of the initial appearance of certain works and, from a museographic point of view, a renewed reflection on the presentation of these works in the Musée Saint-Raymond in Toulouse and their visual impact.

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  • Authors: Neri, Elisabetta; Strivay, David;

    Polycroma

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