Veerle Rots obtained her PhD at Leuven University (Belgium, 2002) and subsequently became a postdoctoral research fellow of the Research Fund (2002-2009) and the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders (FWO) (2009-2011). She was appointed guest lecturer at the Department of Archaeology of the University of Leuven in 2005 (until 2012). In 2011, she obtained a permanent position as Research Associate of the Fund for Scientific Research (Chercheur Qualifié du FNRS-FRS) at the University of Liège (Belgium). She was awarded a prestigious ERC starting grant in 2012 with the project “Evolution of Stone Tool Hafting in the Palaeolithic”. Since her arrival at the University of Liège, she has developed TraceoLab, a research centre in prehistory devoted to use-wear and residue studies of prehistoric stone tools and experimentation. Her personal expertise mainly concerns microscopic use-wear and hafting wear traces on stone tools, with a particular interest in Palaeolithic assemblages.
Over the years, she has been involved in many field projects in Belgium and abroad (e.g., Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Turkey, Poland), and she has on-going collaborations to examine the archaeological material of different Palaeolithic sites (Belgium, Germany, France, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Israel).
Dries Cnuts graduated from the University of Leuven in 2007 with a Master’s thesis entitled “A critical study on the diet of Neanderthals” under the supervision of Philip Van Peer. As a student he participated in several excavations in Belgium and abroad (e.g., France, Sudan). After his studies, he worked for the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and he returned to archaeology in 2012. From 2012 until the end of 2013, he worked as an archaeologist for the Prehistoric Archaeology unit of the University of Leuven. During this period he was involved in several prehistoric field projects in Belgium. In 2013, he started a Phd under the supervision of Dr. Veerle Rots on the methodological problems related to residue analysis of stone tools.
My research aims at reconstructing the use and hafting modes of lithic tools during the Palaeolithic period by studying residues that adhere to the surfaces of these tools. These residues are plant, animal or mineral origin and may the result from an activity (e.g. butchering), a production technique (e.g. organic hammer percussion) or an hafting mode (e.g. adhesive). The identification of these residues is done by using a combination of optical microscopes (stereo-microscope, metallurgical microscope) and lighting techniques (reflected and transmitted light). Although residue analysis has been now applied for 40 years, it is still confronted with several methodological problems which are not always recognised. First, the optical identification of these residues is challenging since smearing or crushing of residues through use or the degradation of residues through taphonomic processes may remove their diagnostic features and hamper reliable identification. Second, it still remains difficult to identify at which stage of the lifecycle the observed residue was formed. Too often, a residue is attributed to use, while other stages (production, retouch, burial) are not taken into consideration. Thirdly, the conditions under which these residues can survive are still poorly understood and is important in detecting the locations that are suitable for the application of residue analysis. My doctoral research aims therefore at refining the current method with a strong emphasis on experimentation and improvement of optical and molecular methods (in cooperation with the chemistry group of Prof Jef Focant (ULg)). The method will be tested on selection of Palaeolithic sites in Europe and Africa. This research is part of an ERC starting grant on the evolution of hafting during the Palaeolithic (EVO-Haft), led by Dr. Veerle Rots.
Justin Coppe, graduated in 2013 from the University of Liège, with a Master’s thesis on the technological analysis of the recent Mousterian industry of Scladina cave (Belgium). Through a large corpus of refitting, he searched to prove the contemporaneity of the series studied (level 1A) and to understand the “chaine opératoire” used by Neanderthals. For his PhD, he focuses on the identification of projectiles and projection systems in the Palaeolithic. This research is based on a large experimental program and a detailed microscopic analysis. He aims to contribute to a better understanding of Palaeolithic hunting techniques. Justin Coppe has been involved in several field projects, notably on Belgian, French and Romanian Palaeolithic sites. He is also involved in experimental knapping in collaboration with the “Chercheurs de la Wallonie” at the Préhistomuséum de Ramioul (Liège).
Projectile points have always attracted a lot of attention, but the last few years, efforts have been intensified to recognize them in assemblages and to understand the details of their functioning (propulsion mode, hafting method,…). These elements take an important place in discussions about the changes of human behaviour during the Palaeolithic. Especially the development of long-range hunting weapons must have significantly impacted human subsistence strategies. However, in most cases, the key elements of hunting equipment have disappeared, as they were manufactured out of organic material, and the stone points are the only evidence that is left. Therefore, an improved comprehension of their operational details, for example, the appearance and development of new weapon projecting techniques needs to rely on these stone points. The goal of my PhD is to refine the methodologies associated with the identification of projectile points, hafting arrangements and modes of propulsion. The project is based on a large reference collection. This method will be tested on a selection of European Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sites. Ultimately, this study should contribute to a better understanding of projectile technologies and their development. My project is part of a broader program on the evolution of hafting in the Palaeolithic, led by Dr. Veerle Rots (ERC starting grant).
Quentin Goffette graduated from the University of Brussels (ULB) in 2009. As a student he participated in several excavations in Belgium and abroad (e.g., Cyprus, Syria, Italy). Since 2009, he works as an archaeozoologist at the Belgian Institute of Naturals Sciences (Brussels), within the scientific programme ‘Quaternary Environments & Humans’. During this period, he was involved in the study of faunal remains coming from the excavation of Sagalassos (Turkey, Interuniversity attraction poles), from Brussels and, since 2011, from the Walloon region.
In 2017, he started a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Veerle Rots and Dr. Christine Lefèvre (MNHN), on the exploitation of birds from Prehistory to Modern Times on the territory of modern Belgium, by the analysis of archaeozoological data. The evolution of the frequency of bird remains through time will be evaluated, as well as the purposes birds were used for (economic, symbolic, etc.).
Virginie Matterne obtained her master’s degree in archaeology at the belgian University of Louvain-la-Neuve in 2014. Her master’s thesis was directed by Nicholas Cauwe and adressed the issue of music in the Upper Palaeolithic under an organological -based on the development of a catalog- and experimental approach. She became more familiar with the technological aspect of musical instruments, their manufacture and specificities, during a brief internship in Ardèche with the french instrument maker Jean-François Barbe, specialised in traditional and archaeological flutes.
In order to acquire skill in the field of education, she continued her studies to obtain secondary school teaching qualifications (Agrégation de l’enseignement secondaire supérieur en Archéologie et histoire de l’art), before joining the TraceoLab team in 2015 to start a doctoral thesis on prehistoric hafting. She hopes to develop a methodology in the recognition of organic hafts from fauna collections and apply it to a series of Palaeolithic sites.
She works in parallel as a tour guide at the Prehistomuseum de Ramioul (Flémalle, Belgique).
Marine Michel was master graduated from archaeology and art history in 2017 in Liège University. Her master thesis was about “Frost effects on flint tools on different stages of their life cycle”. The taphonomic part of the study was very conclusive. For the first time she manages to reproduce alteration polish from frost/thaw cycles. This one is present on archaeological artefacts and can hinder use-wear good understanding. In 2018 she begins a thesis on the effects of post-depositional phenomena on use-wear. A lot of archaeological artefacts are altered (polishes, patina) because of taphonomic processes. It’s important to be able to understand alteration for a better comprehension of use-wear. Thanks to experimentation and functional analyses, the study aims at improving gravettian sites comprehension and their function.
I graduated from the University of Helsinki (Finland) in 2012, and have been focusing on lithic analysis in my studies since 2009. I learned functional analysis of quartz tools and prepared my master’s thesis under the supervision of Kjel Knutsson at Uppsala University (Sweden). Prior coming to Liège, I have been involved in several field projects, mainly in Finland, including a project dedicated to the earliest postglacial settlement in the eastern part of the country. My PhD work offers me an opportunity to gain experience in functional analysis of flint and flint-like rocks as well as in Palaeolithic archaeology. Above all it allows me to use lithic functional analysis as a way to address general questions about technological strategies and their development through time.
The development of stone tool hafting is one of the most relevant aspects of technological evolution in the Palaeolithic. Hafted tools are more complicated to produce than non-hafted tools since their manufacture requires the use of several raw materials, more varied know-how, and more time. Therefore recognising them in an archaeological assemblage is of interest to anyone who wishes to understand the cognitive capacities and the organisation of tasks in prehistoric populations. My PhD work focuses on the variability in stone tool hafting and use in the Gravettian and Magdalenian of Central and Western Europe, and takes place in the framework of the ERC-funded project Evolution of stone tool hafting in the Palaeolithic, led by Dr. Veerle Rots. The archaeological sites included in my study are the cave site Hohle Fels (SW Germany), the open-air site Maisières-Canal (Belgium), and the rock shelter Abri Pataud (SW France). By concentrating on the main tool categories, I first aim at identifying the range of activities performed at the sites, and subsequently sample the collections to get a more detailed view of tool use and hafting in each archaeological context.
The method I use is a combination of low magnification and high magnification use-wear analysis. My work also involves small-scale experimentation to address specific questions raised by the assemblages included in the study. I am especially interested in utilising the potential of the so-called domestic tools (such as scrapers and burins) as a source material in the study of technology and its evolution. I believe that these tools, often left in the shadow of projectiles in lithic studies, offer a convenient source material for understanding the links between lithic technology and the use of other raw materials, and can also help us understand task planning and organisation. They are numerous at almost all Upper Palaeolithic sites, and therefore allow for comparisons across vast geographical regions and long periods of time. By combining data on tools used for subsistence and manufacture/maintenance activities, I hope to contribute to models of long-term technological change as well as to an improved understanding of causes behind lithic assemblage variability.
As part of a postdoctoral BeIPD-COFUND incoming fellowship on the «Adoption, abandonment, and revival of a technical innovation. Techno-functional study of twisted blade production during the Upper Paleolithic in Europe» I will perform a research on technical innovations in Prehistory within TraceoLab. The goal is to study the causes and implications of the diversity of blade and bladelet production patterns which are a key aspect of the variability of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe. I will particularly focus on the production of twisted blanks, introduced in Europe at the early beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, which disappears and reappears periodically and in different areas throughout the Upper Paleolithic. Based on a techno-functional approach that includes petrographic, functional and technical analyses, I aim to clarify the meaning of these productions anticipating two possible hypotheses: (1) the twisted character is intentionally sought, or (2) it is a byproduct and a consequence of other technical constraints.
This research project is based on the analysis of a new open-air site « Les Prés Laure » (Var, France) which delivers exceptionally well preserved deposits from the Upper Paleolithic dated around the end of the LGM (about 25 000 – 20,000 BP).
Sonja Tomasso graduated from Liège University in 2008 and subsequently worked as an archaeologist in the city of Aachen (Germany). Since 2012, she’s working as a research assistant at the “Kommission für Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen (KAAK) des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (DAI)” (Bonn, Germany). In her PhD thesis, she would like to contribute to the debate on the nature of the Aterian and Mousterian technology in North Africa based on the lithic material of Ifri n’Ammar. She will integrate functional data on use and hafting and she will try to obtain an improved understanding of these technologies and to resolve questions about tanged tools, Mousterian points and other stone tools.
She has been involved in several field seasons at the site of Ifri n’Ammar, which is situated in the Eastern Rif Mountains of Morocco. This research is part of a cooperative project of the German Archaeological Institute (KAAK/DAI) and the Institut National des Sciences de l’Archéologie et du Patrimoine (INSAP).
07/2003 : Trou Al’Wesse (Belgique), sous la direction de Rebecca Miller (ULg)
08/2004 : Trou Al’Wesse (Belgique), sous la direction de Rebecca Miller (ULg)
08/2005 : Grotte de Karain (Turquie), sous la direction de Marcel Otte et Ișin Yalçinkaya (ULg, Ankara University)
07/2006 : Grotte de Karain (Turquie), sous la direction de Marcel Otte et Ișin Yalçinkaya (ULg, Ankara University)
05/2007 : Tell Chagar Bazar (Syrie), sous la direction d’ Önhan Tunca et Jean Marie Cordy (ULg)
05/2008 : Tell Chagar Bazar (Syrie), sous la direction d’ Önhan Tunca et Jean Marie Cordy (ULg)
05-06/2009 : Tell Chagar Bazar (Syrie), sous la direction d’ Önhan Tunca et Jean Marie Cordy (ULg)
Depuis 2010 : Ifri n’Ammar (Maroc), sous la direction de Josef Eiwanger (KAAK) (en coopération avec Abdes Mikdad, INSAP)
Christian Lepers is a member of the Chercheurs de la Wallonie and over the years he gained a lot of experience in stone tool knapping and use. He is a regular participant to the European Championship of prehistoric spear-throwing and bow use given his great skill in this field. Within the lab, he is responsible for the experimental program on stone tool use and hafting.
Carol Lentfer graduated from the University of New England, Armidale, Australia with BSc Hons (Ecology/Zoology/Microbiology) and a BA (Archaeology/Botany). After teaching in New South Wales, Australia and a remote aboriginal settlement in the Northern Territory she resumed studies at the Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia and graduated with a Masters in Applied Science (Archaeological Science) and a PhD (2004). She has since held research positions at the University of Queensland, Australia (2005-2008), the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA (2009-2010), and Minpaku, the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan (2011-2012). She has worked on several collaborative archaeological projects in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, East Timor, Borneo and Taiwan.
She has worked on several collaborative archaeological projects focusing her research on the prehistory of human settlement in the Southeast Asian/Pacific region to investigate resource exploitation, subsistence, patterns of economic development and change and environmental change. She specializes in phytolith and starch analyses, plant macro-remain analyses including wood and nutshell/seed identification, and use wear and residue analyses. Currently she is affiliated with the University of Queensland as an Adjunct Fellow and is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Liège University in Belgium, financed by an ERC starting grant initiated and directed by Dr Veerle Rots.
J’ai été formé aux principes et méthodes de l’archéologie préhistorique dans le cadre d’une Licence et d’une Maîtrise à l’Université de Toulouse le Mirail, puis d’un DEA d’Anthropologie double sceau à l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales et l’Université du Mirail. Mes deux mémoires ont porté sur l’industrie lithique chasséenne de Roucadour (Thémines, Lot). À travers l’analyse des processus de production, de gestion et d’utilisation de l’outillage en silex, mon travail a contribué à mieux comprendre le statut particulier de ce site des Causses du Quercy au Néolithique moyen.
J’ai ensuite rejoint l’UMR6298 Artehis (Université de Dijon) pour faire une thèse financée par une Allocation de Recherche. Le financement était adossé à un programme de recherche intitulé « Territoire Environnement et Pratiques Agricoles au Néolithique ». Ma thèse de doctorat a porté sur la gestion et l’utilisation des produits en silex du Turonien supérieur de la région du Grand-Pressigny au Néolithique final. Afin de travailler à l’échelle des réseaux de diffusion, je me suis attaché à étudier des ensembles répartis entre l’aire de production des grandes lames en Touraine (France), et les rives du lac de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Ainsi, mon travail s’est fondé sur les résultats de l’analyse techno-fonctionnelle d’une vingtaine d’ensembles échantillonnés.
Après ma soutenance, mon activité s’est partagée entre des expertises et contrats d’étude spécialisée réalisés pour divers prestataires de l’archéologie préventive, et une activité de recherche dans la continuité de mon travail de thèse. Je suis impliqué dans différents programmes de recherche, réseaux de collaborations et groupes de travail à l’échelle nationale ou européenne.
La bourse Marie Curie COFUND me permet depuis octobre 2014 de mener mon travail de recherche au Service de Préhistoire de l’Université de Liège, au sein du Laboratoire de Tracéologie.
Mes recherches s’attachent à appréhender les transformations des systèmes techniques et socio-économiques des sociétés agropastorales néolithiques ouest-européennes entre le Vème et le IIIème millénaire av. J.-C. par le biais de la tracéologie et de la technologie lithique. Mes domaines d’analyse et d’expertise sont les processus de production, de gestion et d’utilisation de l’outillage en silex. Mon travail comporte trois axes principaux : les conditions techniques et sociales de la diversité de l’équipement en silex, la variabilité des agro systèmes et son évolution dans le temps, les transferts de technologies et de traditions techniques dans le temps et l’espace.
Dans le cadre de mon mandat post-doctoral à l’Université de Liège je vais développer des recherches sur l’emmanchement de l’outillage lithique au Néolithique. L’objectif sera de faciliter la restitution des types d’emmanchement des pièces lithiques provenant des sites terrestres en établissant un corpus tracéologique de comparaison (archéologique et expérimental). Le volet archéologique se focalise sur l’étude de pièces encore emmanchées des collections exceptionnelles des villages néolithiques littoraux des lacs nord-alpins. Récemment inscrits au patrimoine mondial par l’UNESCO, les sites lacustres bénéficient de conditions de conservation uniques qui offrent l’accès à des vestiges en matière organique, habituellement dégradés en contexte terrestre.
Elspeth “Ebbe” Hayes completed her PhD at the University of Wollongong, Australia, in 2015, under the supervision of Prof. Richard Fullagar. Her PhD research focussed on the function of Aboriginal grinding tools through a detailed functional analysis of the usewear and residue traces on tools from key archaeological sites in Australia (Madjedbebe and Lake Mungo). During her PhD, Ebbe visited Lakehead University in Canada to study chemical methods of residue analysis, including the newest applications of spectroscopy, gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), biochemical staining and others.
Following the completion of her PhD, Ebbe worked as a Research Fellow in the Centre for Archaeological Science at the University of Wollongong. She has been involved in several collaborative projects to study tool function at early human sites in eastern Asia and Australia, including Denisova Cave (Siberia), Liang Bua (Indonesia) and Madjedbebe (northern Australia).
Doctor of Philosophy (with commendation) 2015
Centre for Archaeological Science,
School of Earth and Environmental Science,
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
University of Wollongong
Bachelor of Science (Hons 1) (Geoscience) 2010
School of Earth and Environmental Science,
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
University of Wollongong
Hayes, E.H., D. Cnuts, C. Lepers, V. Rots. (2017). Learning from blind tests: determining the function of experimental grinding stones through use-wear and residue analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 11: 245–260.
Fullagar, R., B. Stephenson, E.H. Hayes. (2017). Grinding grounds: function and distribution of grinding stones from an open site in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Quaternary International 427: 175–183.
Marwick, B., Hayes, E.H., C, Clarkson, R., Fullagar. (2017). Movement of lithics by trampling: an experiment in Madjedbebe sediments. Journal of Archaeological Science.
Rots, V., E.H. Hayes, D. Cnuts, C. Lepers, R. Fullagar. (2016). Making sense of residues on flaked stone artefacts: learning from blind tests. Plos One. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.015043
Fullagar, R., E.H. Hayes, B. Stephenson, J. Field, C. Matheson, N. Stern and K. Fitzsimmons. (2015). The scale of seed grinding at Lake Mungo. Archaeology in Oceania 50: 177–179.
Fullagar, R., E.H. Hayes, B. Stephenson, J. Field, C. Matheson, N. Stern and K. Fitzsimmons (2015). Evidence for Pleistocene seed grinding at Lake Mungo, south-eastern Australia. Archaeology in Oceania 50: 3–19.
Smith, M., E.H. Hayes and B. Stephenson 2015 Mapping a millstone: the dynamics of use-wear and residues on a Central Australian seed-grinding implement. Australian Archaeology: 80: 70–79.
Clarkson, C., M. Smith, B. Marwick, R. Fullagar, L. Wallis, P. Faulkner, T. Manne, E.H. Hayes, R.G. Roberts, Z. Jacobs, X. Carah, K.M. Lowe, J. Matthews and A. Florin (2015). Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II): Archaeology, chronology and stratigraphic integrity revisited. Journal of Human Evolution 83: 46–64.
Hayes, E.H., R. Fullagar, C.J. Clarkson and S. O’Connor (2014). Usewear on the platform: ‘use-flakes’ and ‘retouch-flakes’ from northern Australia and Timor. In S. Nunziante Cesaro and C. Lemori (eds), An Integration of Use-Wear and Residue Analysis for the Identification of the Function of Archaeological Stone Tools: Proceedings of the International Workshop Rome, March 5th–7th, 2012, pp.77–90. British Archaeological Reports: 2649. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Jacobs, Z., E.H. Hayes, R.G. Roberts, R.F. Galbraith and C.S. Henshilwood (2013). An improved OSL chronology for the Still Bay layers at Blombos Cave, South Africa: further tests of single-grain dating procedures and a re-evaluation of the timing of the Still Bay industry across southern Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(1): 579–594.
Hayes, E.H. (2015). What was ground? A functional analysis of grinding stones from Madjedbebe and Lake Mungo, Australia. PhD thesis, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.
Hayes, E.H. (2010). Extending the chronology for Blombos Cave, South Africa: Further evidence for the origins of modern human behaviour. Honours thesis, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.