The ANDALUSIL project -Procurement strategies and production processes of sillimanite polished tools during the Late Prehistory of Andalusia- is funded by the Ayudas para incentivar la Consolidación Investigadora 2022, Programa Estatal para Desarrollar, Atraer y Retener Talento. Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica, Técnica y de Innovación 2021-2023. Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (CNS2022-136083. 2023-2025).
Sillimanite was extensively used as a raw material for manufacturing polished tools during Late Prehistory. Its widespread spatial and chronological presence, along with the social significance attributed to artifacts made from this material, highlight its importance. However, uncertainties persist regarding the geological origin, production, distribution, and consumption of sillimanite axes.
Ongoing research suggests two distinct procurement and production strategies for sillimanite polished artifacts in Andalusia, spanning the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. The first strategy, characterized by specialization, involved direct mining of the highest quality material from primary outcrops. This material was then transformed in nearby small workshops, as observed in other European regions. In contrast, another strategy relied on utilizing natural blanks that had been remobilized. These blanks were minimally modified to create simple tools, representing a more opportunistic approach primarily focused on self-consumption.
To test this hypothesis and enhance our understanding of the supply and production strategies of sillimanite polished axes during the Late Prehistory of Andalusia, we introduce the ANDALUSIL project. This project aims to conduct a comprehensive study and analytical characterization of the supply sources, perform an archaeological survey of extraction and production contexts, and carry out a morphotechnical analysis of the products generated during the manufacturing process. These steps will serve as a preliminary stage for recreating the manufacturing process through experimental archaeology. Furthermore, in conjunction with other ongoing research efforts, the project will analyze the distribution and consumption patterns of sillimanite axes documented in Andalucía.