Approaching prehistoric skills: experimental drilling in the context of bead manufacturing

Към праисторическите умения: експериментално пробиване и изготвяне на мъниста

  • Maria Gurova National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Saborna Str., 1000 Sofia
  • Clive Bonsall School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG
  • Bruce Bradley
  • Elka Anastassova National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Saborna Str., 1000 Sofia
Keywords: (bio)minerals, beads, drilling, experiments, micro perforators/borers, Mohs scale, Prehistoric skills, pump drill

Abstract

From the very Early Neolithic in the Balkans two categories of objects are recognized as having been involved in prehistoric drilling activities. The first is beads and other decorative and prestigious items made of bone, shell, pottery and various minerals. The second comprises toolkits of micro-perforators/borers found among the flint assemblages of several sites.
This paper presents experiments in drilling different materials with the aim of testing several practical issues. A series of micro-borers were produced and used for manual and mechanical drilling (with a pump drill). Various samples (mainly prepared thin plates) of minerals and rocks were used, ranging in hardness (on Mohs scale) from 3 (marble, limestone, calcite) to 6.5 (amazonite, nephrite). Biominerals were also used: aragonite (shells) and apatite (bones). Actual bead production was approached by manufacturing 16 delicate beads of 5 different materials using fine sand and water abrasion. Though not conclusive, the experimental work was instructive in many of the parameters, procedures and technical details of prehistoric drilling.

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Published
2013-12-30
How to Cite
Gurova, M., Bonsall, C., Bradley, B. and Anastassova, E. (2013) “Approaching prehistoric skills: experimental drilling in the context of bead manufacturing”, Bulgarian e-Journal of Archaeology / Българско е-Списание за Археология, 3(2), pp. 201-221. Available at: http://be-ja.org/index.php/Be-JA/article/view/29 (Accessed: 9December2019).
Section
Papers / Статии
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