Abstract. This phase aimed at testing and implementing the specific methodology of investigation at experimental and archaeological level. Two analysis models sheet were developed: the first includes all the variables involved in the transformation technological schemes of various raw materials, and the second, the possible uses of prehistoric artifacts. All these analysis sheets are inserted in the database dedicated to experimental data management, which is relational and is made in MySQL and Windows 10. The design of this database has been designed and adjusted starting from the final appearance of the sheets and at the beginning of phase 2, it became operational, allowing the recording of data from the experimental workshops. Through this database, innovative solutions are proposed to identify in the future the way to obtain and the functionality of prehistoric artifacts, without the need for the archaeologist to repeat the experiments. The methodology for analyzing the archeological collections has been established, which will serve as a support for the experimental workshops. The design was also developed and the project website launched. This report further details the design and interconnection stages of the analysis sheets with the mentioned database, as well as the first attempts to enter the experimental data and analysis of the archaeological sites, carried out in phase 1 of the project.
Activity 1.1 – Launching the project website. The design was created and the functionality of the project website was tested. It can be viewed at: http: //www.eneolithic bonetools.ro. It will represent the interface between the project results and the interested specialists. The main sections of the site provide information on the identification data of the project: summary, purpose and objectives, scientific methodology, team, implementation. Also, two other important sections: Results and Dissemination will be permanently completed, as the project progresses.
Activity 1.2 – Development and testing of the database. The application has a relational database built using the MySQL database management system and queried using the SQL language. The technologies used to build the database (DB) were: XAMPP 3.2.4. and PHPMyadmin 5.0.2. The C# programming language under the Visual Studio 2019 development environment with ASP.NET Core was used to build the application interfaces. The Microsoft Azure Cloud service was also used, as the University of Valahia has a contract with Microsoft, through which certain software packages are made available free of charge to students and teachers through the Cloud Computing service.For the construction of the database, it was established that the information be taken on the computer in Excel files, starting from the experimental files to be completed during the experimental workshops. .xls files are to be converted to .csv files for import into the database.
Activity 1.3 – Elaboration of worksheets. The elaboration of the general model of the file aimed at gathering as much information as possible, which should be noted at the time of the experiment and which should then be entered into the database. In the experiments, two main categories of information are collected: the transformation technological scheme of the raw material (bone, antler, tooth, shell) into a finished object and the way in which different finished items were used (starting from the functional hypotheses identified in the literature). Each experimental replica benefits from such an analysis sheet, with the hierarchy of observations: the purpose of the experiment, the type of raw material (including information about the species, anatomical location, method of gathering, stage of processed raw materials). Next, in the file, the operations performed, from the extraction of the blank, to the finished item (for the technological files) or the way in which different materials are processed (for the tracing files) are inserted; tools involved in various actions; duration of each operation; as well as the results obtained, in the sense of describing the macrostigmas present on the pieces, after making each observation. The action of completing the worksheets will continue in the laboratory, where the experimental pieces will be analyzed under a microscope, with a description of the technological or functional micro-marks. To visualize the traces left by technological operations, each piece is examined with a Keyence VHX-600 digital microscope (magnifications ranging from 30x to 200x), the images being made using a built-in camera. The development of wear marks, for the used items, with the deformation of the initial volume and the disappearance of technological marks, is analyzed with an Olympus BX53M metallographic microscope (magnifications between 100x and 500x), equipped with a Canon EOS 1200D camera.
Activity. 1.4 – Correlation of the database and worksheets. At this stage, the final design and adjustment of the database, as well as the final design of the worksheets, took place for a good correlation with the database. The first data was imported from Excel files built on the artifact record sheets and the stages of their use or processing. The following data was entered directly into the application via the built-in interfaces.
Activity 1.5 – Experimental analysis of archaeological collections. In this first stage, the archeological assemblage from Cheia (Constanța County) was analyzed. As we presented in the project proposal, we aim to introduce innovative methods in the study of archaeological collections. Regarding the approach methodology, the basic principle used was that of identifying in the archaeological assemblages primarily the products and by-products resulting from the first stages of the technological scheme. These have generally been neglected by archaeologists because they are not spectacular pieces, but they provide us with information about the debitage operation. In the case of finished items, the marks of debitage are usually removed by subsequent actions and we do not know how the blanks was obtained. This type of approach allows for a mental reassembly of the sequence of all procedures included in an technological chain. In general, the techniques used in the osseous industry – percussion, sawing, grooving, scraping, etc. – lead to the removal of small splinters from the raw material, which can no longer be recovered, and which no longer allow the connection of components, except hypothetical. As a result, debris or blanks become vital in this reconstitution.
For the hierarchy of information, within the major categories of raw materials, the subdivision of the artifacts followed their degree of finishing, resulting in four categories: finished pieces, preforms, blanks and waste, because the presence of all constituent elements of an technological chain gives us clues as to whether or not to process, in situ, the equipment needed by the community. After this separation of artifacts, the analysis focuses on the two major operations of the technological chain: debitage and shaping.
Then there is a new subdivision, depending on the type of blank from which the finished item was made, respectively flat and volume blanks, this subdivision allowing the attachment to a type of debitage, which provides valuable information for the remonage invoked. Thus, the transformation axis allows two variants of orientation for debitage: either longitudinally, when the block is divided parallel to the axis, or transversely, when the block is cut perpendicularly or obliquely. In the first case, flat blanks are obtained, which preserve only a part of the morphometry of the origin block, in the second case, volume blanks are obtained, which coincide, morphometrically, to the origin block.
Next, the traces identified on these items are carefully described, making a first division between the technological marks (resulting from debitage or shaping) and the functional ones. The aim is to capture all the details, such as location, extension, incidence, morphology, etc. The macroscopic analysis is followed by a microscopic analysis that involves an even more rigorous description, as well as the realization of the set of pictures with micro-marks, which would allow the comparison with similar pictures taken for the experimental pieces.
Activity 1.6 – Dissemination activities. The dissemination of the results was materialized by sending a manuscript based on experimental archeology for evaluation and publication in the Pontica (indexed BDI) (no. 53, 2020, pp. 91-109). The title of the paper is: Production of bone rings in the Hamangia settlement of Cheia (Romania) (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Valentina Voinea). Studies on osseous objects specific to the Hamangia culture (5th millennium cal BC) have paid more attention to exotic raw materials, such as the Spondylus valve or the Antalis shell, to the detriment of local raw materials such as bone. However, the latter can also provide us with important technological and cultural information about prehistoric communities. In this study we propose to reconstruct the ovicaprines bones scheme of transformation into rings, based on the technological analysis, as it was identified in the settlement of Cheia (Constanța County, Romania). Our approach was also facilitated by the identification of artifacts in various stages of transformation, from debitage waste to finished items with traces of use-wear. Next, an experimental program has been developed that allows for the recording of all variables: the sequence of procedures starting from the archaeological pieces, the types of tools used, time recorded for each operation, etc. The purpose of the experimental program was to validate the proposed technical transformation scheme for obtaining the bone rings.
Also, some of the results were disseminated at the Sesiunea Științifică Anuală a Muzeului Național al Carpaților Răsăriteni, 17th edition (December 9-11, 2020). Anca-Diana Popescu, a member of the project research team, presented the study: “Bone psalms discovered in sites with Costişa and Monteoru ceramics”. This paper presents all the bone/antler psalms discovered in sites with Costişa and Monteoru ceramics, with a detailed description of the discovery contexts, using unique information kept in the archives of the “Vasile Pârvan” Institute of Archeology. The psalms were also discussed from a typological and chronological point of view, with special attention being paid to discoidal psalms, which find good analogies in settlements and tombs in the North Pontic area, dating to the first half of the second millennium BC.