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Experimental Archaeology, Theory and practice

Event date: 
Monday, 10 April, 2017 to Friday, 14 April, 2017
Kind of Event: 
for Professionals

This module of experimental archaeology aims to show students the importance of theory but also practice in order to interpret archaeological stone tools. It encourages critical and analytical thinking in mounting an experimental protocol for scientific purposes. Through the different activities and the validation procedure, students will experience what it means to be researcher.

Developed skills
The module allows students to:
- know the theoretical and practical bases of stone knapping
- understand the different prehistoric techniques and methods of knapping
- master the different stages of the implementation of an experimental protocol
- master the theoretical and practical principles of usewear analysis
- learn to report results in a short research paper Teaching and organizing staff

Teaching and organising staff
Zsolt Mester (ELTE, Budapest Hungary)
György Lengyel (Miskolc University, Hungary)
M. Gema Chacón (IPHES, URV, Tarragona, Spain / MNHN, Paris, France)
Javier Baena Preysler (UAM, Madrid, Spain)
David Pleurdeau (MNHN, Paris, France)
Antony Borel (MNHN, Paris, France)
Magdolna Vicze (Matrica Museum, Százhalombatta, Hungary)
Gabriella T. Németh (Matrica Museum, Százhalombatta, Hungary)

Program of the course
During the first day, the essential theoretical knowledge concerning raw material sourcing, techniques and methods of stone knapping, experimentation and usewear analysis are presented. In the evening, the students have the opportunity to start learning the practical basics of stone knapping.
The second and third days is dedicated to stone knapping and stone tool use experimentations in the framework of scientific research.
The Fourth and fifth days, the students have to set up and carry out their own experiment to answer the scientific question of their choice. They work by group of 2 or 3 with the help and advices of all the teachers of the module.

-9h-11h: Theory: Raw material variability in Central Europe
-11h-12h: Theory: Knapping techniques and methods
-12h-13h: LUNCH
-13h-15h: Theory: Method of experimentation and introduction to usewear analysis
-15h-17h30h: Practise: first approach to stone knapping and laminar knapping demonstration

-9h-12h: Practise: stone knapping basics and gestures
-13h30-17h30: Practise: bifacial stone knapping methods

-9h-12h: Practise: tool use experimentation and usewear observation
-12h-13h: LUNCH
-13h-16h: Practise: tool use experimentation and usewear observation
-16h30-17h30: Seminar «case studies or discoveries» by one of the teachers

-9h-12h: Practise: Research question and experimental protocol preparation by group of 2 or 3 students
-12h-13h: LUNCH
-13h-17h30: Practise: Experimentation by group of 2 or 3 students

-9h-12h: Practise: Experimentation by group of 2 or 3 students
-12h-13h: LUNCH
-13h-16h: Practise: Experimentation by group of 2 or 3 students

Validation procedure
The presence and active participation in the whole course is mandatory. Half of the grade is given based on the activity of the student during the week of the course. The other half is based on the writing of a short paper presenting the experiment (and its results) carried out on days 4 and 5.
The paper should be in scientific journal format. One collaborative paper is written per group within a month after the end of the course.

Free registration. Maximum 30 people!

Location of the course
Archaeological Park of Százhalombatta, István király utca 4, 2440 Hungary


Contacts for information and application
Hungary: Zsolt Mester (
Spain: M. Gema Chacón (
France: Antony Borel (

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