Abstract. The second phase of the project involved the transition to the practical stage, respectively to the implementation of the theoretical methodologies that we developed in the previous phase. Thus, the expected database became operational and a series of data acquired as a result of the experimental activities performed were introduced. Precisely in order to provide information to be entered in the database, experimental workshops were organized on the site of Schela Cladovei (Mehedinți County), during August, where various bone artifacts were made and used. We have thus created an experimental reference collection that can be used by other interested researchers. All comments on the making and use of these replicas have been entered into the database. Equally, a series of archeological collections were analyzed using the innovative methodology that I developed in phase 1 of the project. The analyzed archaeological pieces serve primarily as a model for experimental replicas. Last but not least, we aimed to disseminate the results of the project phase, through publications and participation in scientific meetings, as we assumed through the project proposal.

Results description

Activity 2.1 – Functional database – Launch the database to manage the results. From this point on, the database became operational and the final data entry started.

Activity 2.2 – Experimental reference collection. During August, we organized experimental workshops to create a reference experimental collection. The experimental program was modeled both according to the objectives – the types of prehistoric tools to be replicated, and the raw materials to which we had access. However, we aimed to cover a wide range of typologies, but also to put into practice as many techniques identified on prehistoric tools.

The raw materials processed were: bone, antler, wild boar canine and shell. The different mechanical and physical properties of these raw materials are also reflected in the different techniques used, especially at the level of the debitage operation, techniques well adapted by the prehistoric communities of these types of raw materials. Therefore, different debitage methods were tested: for bone – direct percussion, indirect percussion, bipartition by double grooving, quadry-partition by double grooving, bipartition by abrasion, extraction, segmentation by sawing; for antler – direct percussion, segmentation by sawing, bipartition by grooving; for tooth – bipartition by diffuse percussion and bipartition by double grooving; shell – diffuse direct percussion or extraction.

Types of replicated tools included: rings in volume, various types of pointed tools, bone chisels, abraded and perforated sstragalul, spatulas, bone figurines, tooth scrapers, tooth pendants, and shell beads. For all these pieces, we will try to use them in various activities, with the identification and description of macro- and micro-marks. The correct characterization of these marks is extremely important, for the next stage, that of the comparison with the archeological pieces.

With the help of Unio valves, a series of activities were carried out: cleaning of fresh and dry wood, fresh and dry bone, vegetable fibers, hides, cleaning of fishes, processing of clay pots. Also for the processing of clay vessels, two other types of tools were used: Bos taurus ribs spatulas and Ovis aries/Capra hircus astragalus. In the case of all items used in a second phase, the active front used was analyzed under a microscope for a detailed description of the micromarks.

Activity 2.3 – Multiplication of analysis sheets for the experimental collection. During the workshops, for all the experimental activities, a sheet was completed with the registration of the various details necessary for the subsequent comparisons with the archeological pieces. Precisely because the sheets were filled in by different people, they are not uniform, because not everyone filled in the data/observations accurately, so we saw how important it is to have a database to transcribe (from this time unitary) all the information accumulated, shortly after the experiments, when they can be recovered from the data that were not noted on the sheet. All data completed in these sheets are then integrated into the database, in combination with images illustrating the various technological and functional steps and macromarks.

Activity 2.4 – Microscopy applied in experimental studies. Experimental artifacts (both used and unused) were then investigated under a microscope to characterize technological marks, following the information: type, location, position, incidence, extent, organization, and morphology. In the case of used tools, they are described, based on microscopic investigations: frequency and distribution of the luster, change in the initial volume and micro-topography of the active front, the presence and pattern of functional striations, the presence of microfractures and worn surfaces.

Activity 2.5 – Experimental analysis of archaeological collections. New archaeological assemblages were analyzed: Schela Cladovei – Starčevo-Criș culture; Techirghiol – Hamangia culture; Vitănești – Gumelnița culture; Dragușeni-Ostrov – Cucuteni culture. The purpose of these studies is two fold: the introduction into the international scientific circuit of some assemblages insufficiently exploited so far, following the innovative analysis methodology that we developed and detailed in the first phase of the project, as well as the identification of those categories of artifacts starting from which will perform experimental technological and functional reconstructions.

Activity 2.6 – Dissemination activities. Participation at scientific meetings for the dissemination of project results. We have undertaken to send for publication at least 2 manuscript, in journals indexed in international databases, as well as to participate at national and international scientific meetings. Data related to this activity are detailed below:

– M. Mărgărit, V. Radu, V. Voinea, Learning from experiment: Unio freshwater mussel shells in fifth-millennium bc Romania, European Journal of Archaeology (ISI journal), 24(2), 2021, 180-203. Raw materials from aquatic environments were systematically used for domestic activities even before the appearance of modern humans. In this study we analyse the possible utilisations of freshwater mussel valves of the Unio sp. in prehistory. They have not been processed technologically but preserve on their surfaces marks resulting from their use. The main purpose of this paper is to initiate a database of the way in which wear develops on these valves starting from the comparison between experimental and archaeological pieces. An experimental programme has been developed that allows for the recording of all variables: means of gathering the raw material, time recorded for each operation, and processed materials. Experimental pieces were microscopically evaluated to see how use-wear develops. The archaeological assemblage from the Hamangia culture (5th millennium cal BC) site of Cheia (Romania) was used as a case study to illustrate the relevance of the results.

– M. Mărgărit, A. Boroneanț, Implements of wild boar canines during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic at the Lower Danube, Documenta Praehistorica (indexat BDI), XLVIII (2021), p. 394-413. This paper proposes to discuss the wild boar teeth technological exploitation and transformation into tools during the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic north of the Lower Danube. Four main variables were taken into consideration: raw material procurement, blank production, object manufacture and equipment maintenance. Tool finds from various prehistoric sites in Romania were compared, aiming to identify their impact on the economy of prehistoric communities, and to determine possible variations in their number/ways of use during the early prehistory. Tool typology is poor. The finds studied showed different degrees of use-wear, as well as systematic re-sharpening of the active front. In addition, finished tools are predominant in comparison to the sub-products of the chaîne opératoire. The almost lack of blanks may suggest no stocking was taking place. The entire tooth was used, resulting at times in several implements. Our experimental program, by following closely the technical transformation schemes indicated by the archaeological specimens, suggests that such tusk tools were used for woodworking.

The team members also attended the following international and national meetings, with the aim of presenting in particular the results of the experimental workshops and the comparisons with various archaeological sites:

Technological use of Sus scrofa canines in the Prehistory of Romania: archaeological and experimental data (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Adina Boroneanț), XIXe UISPP World Congress, Meknes, 2-7 september 2021. Această prezentare s-a bazat pe rezultatele din cadrul articolului publicat în Documenta Praehistorica (vezi mai sus). This presentation was based on the results of the paper published in Documenta Praehistorica journal (see above).

– Testing the possible functions of the Unio sp. valve in the Hamangia culture (mill. V cal BC) (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Valentin Radu, Valentina Voinea), 27th EAA Virtual Annual Meeting, Kiel, 6-11 september 2021. This presentation was based on the results of a paper published in the European Journal of Archeology  journal (see above).

Bone pointed tools from the Hamangia settlement at Cheia (Romania): how and what were they made for? (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Valentina Voinea), Rock and Roll: 13th International Symposium on Knappable Materials, Tarragona (Spain), 4-7 october 2021. The generic term: bone pointed tools used for a certain category of artefacts actually covers a whole range of items with various functions. The common element is the morphology of the active end, and not their functionality. Our presentation focuses on such an assemblage from the settlement at Cheia (dated to the beginning of the 5th millennium cal BC). The study of this typological assemblage is important given the clear preference of the Cheia community for making pointed tools from flat blanks, obtained from the long bones of ovicaprids by quadri-partition in double grooving. Our study was two-fold: 1. identifying the sequence of procedures in the technological transformational scheme from the mere bone to the finished pointed tool and 2. determining the functionality of these tools (as multipurpose items or designed for a single activity only). To reach our goal, we integrated three types of data: the direct analysis of the archaeological implements, the data from other published archaeological assemblages, and our own experimental data. For the purposes of this research, we selected the diagnostic pieces such as preforms, blanks and manufacturing waste rather than the finished pieces. The microscopic study of the artefacts was vital for the correct characterization of the technological marks. Based on it, we attempted to reconstruct experimentally the entire succession of the manufacturing gestures, in order to visualize their transformation scheme from the bone to the finished object. The experimental approach resulted in detailed records of the used raw materials, the time necessary for each type of procedure, the tools used and the results obtained during each operation. Next, the experimentally created tools were tested in various actions, such as skin perforation, bone breaking, shell perforations, wood processing, vegetable fibre production, etc. The active front of these items was then observed alongside other variables such as the frequency and distribution of polish, micro-topography, the pattern of functional striations, the presence of microfractures and wear off surfaces. In addition, the archaeological and experimental marks were analysed with an Olympus stereo-microscope and a Keyence VHX-600 digital optical microscope. The observations made on the archaeological specimens were compared to those on the experimental replicas in order to test the hypotheses regarding the ways the pointed tools were manufactured and used by the prehistoric communities.

Archae Experim – prehistoric osseous artifacts from the Lower Danube: experiment, reconstruction and functionality (Authors: Adina Boroneanț, Monica Mărgărit, Anca Popescu), Simpozionul Epoca bronzului în Oltenia. Repere arheologice din România, ediția a IX-a, Târgu-Jiu, 13-15 may 2021. In this presentation, we summarized the intermediate results/the first phase of the project, respectively: the general model of the experimental sheets, the way of making the database, the correlation of the database and the worksheets. We explained the methodology by which we select the types of artifacts and activities to be replicated and highlighted the difficulties encountered in our attempt to design and adjust the final form of the database, for a good correlation with the worksheets completed in the experimental workshops and in the lab/database. We also presented a series of copies of experimental sheets, then transcribed in the database, to demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed methodology.

Processing Unio sp. valve for adornments at the Gumelnița communities (mill. V BC): archaeological and experimental data (Autori: Monica Mărgărit, Valentin Radu), New Topics, Sources ans Methods in the Historical Research; reflections and perspectives. Methodological workshop, Universitatea ”1 Decembrie 1918” din Alba Iulia, 4 june 2021. Valves of the Unio sp. processed to be made into personal adornments are discovered from several settlements of Gumelnița culture (the second half of the 5th millennium B.C.). These assemblages includes pieces in different phases of transformation, from irregular splinters, to finished pieces in the shape of circular beads used as personal adornments. In this study, the raw material was interpreted as local, obtained as a by-product of the gathering process. Among the food waste products from the few settlements, the Unio sp. valves are well-represented quantitatively, their nutritional contribution being quite substantial. In order to identify the costs invested in the manufacturing of this type of items, both in point of time and in point of effort, we have developed an experimental program, allowing us to record all the variables (raw material aquisition, technological stages, time recorded for each operation, tools used, evolution of the wear following the usage etc.). Finally, the items were put together in a bracelet, tracking the evolution of the surface wear and of the perforation, which would allow us an evaluation of the use of archaeological pieces.

Considerations on the pieces of wild boar teeth from Drăgușeni-Ostrov (Authors: Adina Boroneanț, Monica Mărgărit), Pontica 2021, A 54-a Sesiune Internațională a Muzeului de Istorie Națională și Arheologie Constanța, 17-19 november 2021. The purpose of the analysis was to re-discuss all the wild boar canine pieces from the Cucuteni site from Drăgușeni-Ostrov. Archaeological research has been carried out by S. Marinescu-Bîlcu and Al. Bolomey between 1970-1974 and 1979-1985. The collection is currently at the ‘Vasile Pârvan’ Institute of Archeology, Romanian Academy. The methodology used was to identify the products and by-products of the operational schemes, as well as all traces of technology and wear. The approach was completed with an experimental workshop, in which the ways of processing and using the items of the wild boar tooth were reconstructed, starting from the analysis of the archeological pieces. Attention was also paid to how the Cucuteni communities interacted with the animal environment, exploited its resources (in this case, the wild boar) to make the artifacts presented, and sometimes reintegrated these objects into the use cycle. Future publications of similar assemblage would make a decisive contribution to understanding the patterns of wild boar exploitation during the Cucuteni culture.