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Quartz and Quartzite lithic raw material studies: problems and challenges

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Most of the lithic tools made during Prehistory in the Iberian Peninsula are mainly composed of three main siliceous rock types: chert, quartzite, and quartz. While the methodologies for the characterization and provenance of raw materials made on chert (and obsidian) have been developed with well-established and widely used protocols, the same does not apply to quartzite and quartz veins. Here we present recent developments in characterization and provenance analysis of quartzite and quartz through two case studies: (1) establishing and testing an analytical protocol for the quartzite available in the Côa River Valley region (Portugal) to be applied in future archaeological studies; (2) understanding the quartzite variability within the archaeological assemblage of the El Sotillo site (Spain). These two case studies allow us to highlight some of the main problems and challenges linked to the study of quartzite (raw material and lithic industry) in Paleolithic contexts.
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