- Journal of Lithic Studies, Vol 3, Number 3 2016
Ground stone tools served in many physical and social contexts through millennia, reflecting a wide variety of functions. Although commonly associated with prosaic daily necessities such as food production, this important functional role is often treated as their sole purpose. Ground stone artefacts, however, are also used for a wealth of other purposes such as processing other materials, tool manufacture, and storage; they also carry symbolic meanings, serve as markers of identity, or are imbued with religious or ideological significance.Taken together with other categories of material culture as part of the functional and cultural fabric of a society, contemporary ground stone studies are treated in various ways by different scholars who employ a range of analytical methods and approaches, including the application of scientific techniques.
Although ground stone tool studies were neglected for much of early archaeology, the last few decades witnessed a notable international uptick in the way archaeologists confront this multifaceted topic.Today, with the advance of archaeology as a discipline and with new methodologies and analytical techniques introduced to the discipline, research into ground stone artefacts is moving into a new phase that integrates high resolution documentation with new methodological and technological approaches. These open new vistas for an array of studies and wide-ranging interpretive endeavours related to ground stone tool production and use.
Inspired by these diverse analytical approaches and interpretive challenges, we founded the Association for Ground Stone Tools Research (AGSTR) in order to promote a dialogue and create an optimal arena for scholars studying various aspects of ground stone artefacts. The founding event of the newly founded AGSTR was held at the University of Haifa, Israel. This first meeting of AGSTR was aimed to bring together archaeologists, ethnographers and other ground stone tools specialists from around the globe. Over one hundred scholars met in July for an intensive and inspiring five day conference organised by the Laboratory for Ground Stone Tools Research in the Zinman Institute of Archaeology and titled "Ground Stone & Society - An International Conference on Ground Stone Artifacts Quarrying, Production, Function and Exchange".
Prof. Danny Rosenberg (AGSTR Chair)
Laboratory for Ground Stone Tools Research
Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa,
199 Abba Khousy Ave. Mount Carmel, Haifa, 3498838, Israel
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