Just the tip of the Iceberg?

Within his PhD at the University of Cologne and under the supervision of Jun.-Prof. Dr. Andreas Maier, Robin John will investigate the development of stone projectile points used as inserts in hunting weapons (spears and arrows) during the Upper Palaeolithic (43.000-11.700 BC). This research is funded by the Helga Raddatz Scholarship of the NRW Stiftung.

The research project focusses on the so-called shouldered points. These first appear around 29.000 years ago and have been part of the equipment of the last Ice Age hunters on the European continent for almost 18.000 years. They are therefore particularly suitable for examining long-term developments of stone artefacts.

The following research questions will be tackled within this project:

  • Do shouldered points change over the millennia?
  • If so, what are these changes?
  • Are they constant or irregular changes?
  • Are optimization processes recognizable?
  • Were there regional differences?
  • Can shape changes be explained by changing environmental conditions?

With the help of a programming code called PyREnArA, which was written by John in cooperation with Florian Linsel from the Institute for Informatics at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle (Saale)-Wittenberg, the tips of well-dated sites are selected from the research literature and examined with regard to their metrical characteristics. These features are used in statistical calculations to reveal trends that traditional methods cannot reveal.

Publications linked to this project:

Maier, A., John, R., Linsel, F., Roth, G., Antl‑Weiser, W., Bauer, L., Buchinger, N., Cavak, L., Hoffmann, H., Puschmann, J., Schemmel, M., Schmid, V. C., Simon, U. & Thomas, R. (2023). Analyzing Trends in Material Culture Evolution – a Case Study of Gravettian Points from Lower Austria and Moravia. Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41982-023-00145-z

Project Lead and Contact Person: Robin John
Partner & Förderer: