Natural, technical and social factors led to the use of a wide range of rocks for the production of macrolithic artifacts during the later prehistory. In the case of some artifact types, such as the grinding stones, rocks with very different petrographic qualities appear. Analysis of the material behavior, as developed by material sciences, provides a tool which allows the translation of these petrographic characteristics into mechanical properties. Experiments with a group of rocks subjected to different forms of abrasion in industrial machines allow an evaluation of the adjustment between the mechanical properties of the rock and the functions for which they were chosen by prehistoric societies. Finally, the understanding of the mechanical properties of the raw materials together with their forms of exploitation, distribution and use allows the designation of social and economic meaning to the production systems linked to the macrolithic tools. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Material sciences
- Mechanical properties
- Petrographic characterization
- Prehistoric grinding stones
- Western Mediterranean