8th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster abstract – Day

Shaping Shale: experimental production of prehistoric beads and armlets

Alice Rose Day

University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter Campus, Ceredigion SA48 7ED, UK

Shale is a rock found throughout Britain, and a variety of functional and ornamental artefacts have been discovered at a great many prehistoric and Romano-British archaeological sites. Denford (2000) has studies the industry of a particular type of shale – Kimmeridge shale – and has compiled a database of over three thousand artefacts. Little study of other types of shale has taken place, and experimentation has been limited. A Rev. Mr Witt Stoke demonstrated that flint was an effective tool for lathe-turning of Kimmeridge shale (Denford 2000). Flint tools have been found at many sites of prehistoric and Romano-British shale industry. Errington and Johnston (1981) assessed the efficiency of flint for lathe turning and established that they wore down after only three hundred turns. A Romano-British cup has been replicated with and without the use of a lathe (Sloper and Johnston 1986). The aim of this investigation is to attempt to replicate shale beads and armlets of prehistoric provenance, using both lathe-turning and hand-cutting with flint tools. Different types of shale will be used to establish differences in their workability.

Denford, G. 2000. Prehistoric and Romano-British Kimmeridge Shale [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] (doi:10.5284/1000090)

Errington, A.M. and Johnston, D.E. 1981. Flint tools associated with the turning of shale bracelets on lathes. Bulletin of Experimental Archaeology 2: 18-9.

Sloper, D. and Johnston, D.E. 1986. A controlled experiment concerning the production of early Bronze Age shale cups from Farway Down. Bulletin of Experimental Archaeology 7: 12-6.


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