Article | Fishing, Weaving, Matting: Debating the Function of Notched Cobbles in Neolithic Greece

A. Stroulia, P. Tounas, J. Robitaille, A. Hondroyanni-Metoki, Z. Kouziakis, K. Wardle, T. Theodoropoulou, JNA 24, 2022, 15–46.

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This article focuses on notched cobbles – pieces of stone with indentations on roughly opposite parts of their periphery. While exhibiting a wide geographic and chronological distribution, these simple artefacts have rarely become the subject of systematic archaeological study. In an attempt to address this gap, we discuss the three main hypotheses regarding the functions of these objects (as weights for fishing, weaving or matting) and evaluate the archaeological and ethnographic evidence that is available for each one of them; provide a detailed presentation of the technomorphological characteristics of the material from the Greek Neolithic site of Varemeni Goulon and compare it to that from the neighbouring site of Servia; expand the comparative framework to include other sites from Greece and elsewhere; and finally reconstruct the uses of both the Varemeni and Servia notched cobbles as fishing gear – the hypothesis that emerged as most likely from our survey. If associated with fishing, notched cobbles represent one of the rare components of fish capture technology preserved from Neolithic Greece.