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Miss Melissa Ann Metzger

PositionResearch Student
LocationRichmond K34
DepartmentArchaeological Sciences

Research Interests (key words only)

Lithics, Microscopy, Use-Wear Analysis, Experimental Archaeology.

Study History

  • BA (Hons) History: Major in History, Minor in Anthropology, 2010, University of Mississippi
  • BA (Hons) Anthropology: Major in Anthropology emphasis in Archaeology, Minor in Classics emphasis Ancient Civilisation, 2010, University of Mississippi
  • MA Archaeology, 2014, University of Bradford

Professional History

  • Illinois State Archaeological Survey Archaeological Technician, April 2011-August 2013, East St Louis Mound Complex
  • Intern, January-May 2010, Mississippi Department of Archives and History
  • January 2010, University of Mississippi Winter Field School at Carson Mounds
  • July 2009, University of Mississippi Summer Field School at Carson Mounds
  • Summer Volunteer Excavator, May-August 2008, Cahokia Mounds State Archaeological Park  

Professional Activities

Membership of:

  • The Prehistoric Society
  • English Heritage
  • Lithics Studies Society

Current Projects

Polished-edge Discoidal Knives: An Empirical Investigation into Their Archaeological Context and Function as Flint Objects from the British Isles.

Abstract: Polished-edge discoidal knives are part of the lithic material culture from the British Isles with an approximate Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age date. These artefacts are manufactured in four basic shapes: circular to D-shaped, triangular, broad leaf to lozenge, and rectangular (Clark 1929). The act of polishing and grinding gives the discoidal knives’ edges a shiny, glossy, and lustrous look.

The aim is to analyse critically the function of polished-edge discoidal knives and improve the understanding of the manner of deposition and the implications of that deposition during the late British Neolithic.

This project sets out to accomplish the following things:

  1. Create a database of known knives with find locations, geographic location of find spots, type, condition, measurements, context, associated finds, current location and reference(s).
  2. Build an experimental collection of used polished-edge knives.
  3. Examine a stratified sample (Renefrew and Bahn 1991: 80) of discoidal knives from a variety of contexts.
  4. Identify uses of these polished-edge tools.
  5. Interpret the results from the analysis.
  6. Discuss how the results will affect the understanding of these knives and their deposition.

From the current literature, no experimental work has been completed to investigate details behind these knives. Through experimental archaeology and microscopy, these knives will be tested to further the understanding of their use in the late Neolithic. The current hypotheses to be tested involve the archaeological context, function, and determine whether the knives were commonly used as tools or traded as prestige items.

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