This article outlines current research, begun in 2006, investigating the use of quartz in Irish early prehistoric lithic traditions. The widespread use of quartz in this period in Ireland is not well appreciated by the archaeological community, and it is usually associated with megalithic structures and ritual contexts. The aim of this research is to develop analytical frameworks for this material through experimental knapping and to test these frameworks through selected case studies; this will hopefully enable the archaeological community to have a readily accessible, common set of general principles and analytical tools to formulate further discussions, and facilitate and enhance research agendas involving quartz. This article will first briefly introduce the background to quartz research in Ireland and beyond, followed by an outline of the current project, where I will discuss the formulation of a database of quartz finds from Ireland, the case studies chosen for analysis, and the methodology used.
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Last updated: Wed Jun 10 2009