Lithic landscapes and taskscapes : obsidian procurement, production and use in west central Sardinia, Italy
This thesis studies lithic landscapes and taskscapes from an explicit perspective of social practice. It explores the spatial and temporal dimensions of the three main interlocking lithic activities: procurement, production and use/discard. Five key concepts are used to explore human choice and interaction in these three fields: practice, knowledge, skill, strategy and tradition. Sardinia and the obsidian artefacts from the Riu Mannu Survey Project data have served as a case study. My research approach was developed to gain an understanding of the spatial and temporal developments of Sardinian lithic landscape and taskscapes. It has provided much-needed information on procurement and production strategies in Sardinia. Careful examination of the spatial and temporal interplay between source location, obsidian types, primary and secondary chaîne opératoires and aesthetic preferences has demonstrated that lithic practice is an inherently social day-to-day practice. Analysis has revealed a number of long-standing habitus in Sardinian lithic practice; procurement, production and use/discard strategies are not easily tied to specific regions or time periods. At the same time, variations also existed, and local choices are clearly visible. Production and use/discard is organised at a house-hold level and occurs primarily, but not exclusively, at permanent settlements. Part of the dataset has also shown that occasional and different activities occurred elsewhere. Moreover, this study revealed that so-called simple or expedient assemblages, especially single-stage flake, blade and mixed flake/blade reduction and bipolar flake reduction are skilfully knapped.