Neolithic grinding practices at Svinjarička Čuka, Serbia
Keywords:Neolithic, grinding stones, use-wear, Serbia
Recent research on the neolithization process has highlighted Svinjarička Čuka as a key site in Southeastern Europe with some of the earliest well-preserved Early to Middle Neolithic (associated with the Starčevo horizon) architecture and a rich inventory of finds with analogies in Southwestern Asia. Among the latter, grinding and pounding tools are prominent due to their crucial role in plant food processing, which is one of the main components of the ‘Neolithic Package’. This paper presents a selection of 31 grinding tools comprising handstones, netherstones, pestles, mortars and abraders, which were subjected to a multivariate investigation comprising an analysis of shape and surfaces as well as use-wear and residue analysis with the aim of reconstructing foodways based on crushed foodstuffs at the site. Based on the shapes and use mode, four types of grinding kits and one type of abrader could be distinguished. Three kits were used to process low-fat grains, two of them most probably for cereals. The abraders were possibly involved in the production of pottery.