La mission Caucase à l’EAA à Barcelone

24th Annual Meeting of  the European Association of Archaeologists

Workshop : Strategies of obsidian procurement, knapping and use in the first farming societies from the Caucasus to the Mediterranean

Main organisers: Alice Vinet (France), Denis Guilbeau (France), Bogdana Milić (Austria)


Title of the presentation : Obsidian procurement and technologies in the Chalcolithic of Armenia : an example from Getahovit 2 cave

Authors: NicolasTardy, Irene Kalantaryan, Bérengère Perello

Abstract : Getahovit 2 is a cave discovered in 2010 and situated in the valley of the Khachakhpyur river, in the Tavush region (Northeastern Armenia). The excavation of the cave during 7 years revealed human occupations ranging from the Middle Ages up to the Late Palaeolithic periods. 

This paper only focuses on procurement strategies and technologies of lithic artefacts recovered from the Chalcolithic layers, where the cave was mostly used as a sheepfold for transhument shepherds.   

Lithic assemblage from these chalcolithic layers is predominantly made of obsidian originating from 3 obsidian sources in Armenia and a great dichotomy in the technologies used is observed:

The majority of the lithic industry consists of small flakes, cores and chips deriving from simple production techniques such as hard hammer direct percussion and anvil technique on small nodules with cortical residues. The lithic analysis suggests a direct procurement strategy from the obsidian sources in the form of small nodules knapped in the cave itself (opportunistic model). 

On the other hand, the presence of a few very regular blades produced using pressure techniques   which appear to be imported to the site as finished products raises the question of a totally different procurement strategy probably set through exchanges with neighboring villages located closer to the source (down the line exchange).