By (author) Peacock, D. P. S.; With Mincham, Jennifer; With Wright, Susan
English Heritage's 'Exploring our past' (1991) identified stone in archaeology as a problem area: 'The sources, manufacture and distribution of stone artifacts remain poorly understood, whether these are the cutting tools of prehistory, such as axes and knives, or grinding implements such as hones and querns'. It further states that a commissioned assessment of stone in archaeology should identify basic recording standards, guidelines for processing, shortcomings in regional and local sequences, and potential themes for future study. 'The archaeology of stone' is the result of this commissioned report. Considering all types of stone other than flint, which is considered a special case, and using a combination of library work, site visits, and interviews with practitioners, Professor Peacock's report considers retention and processing policies, evaluates the needs of stone identification and provenancing, and examines ways of recording technological traces of stone working or use. In addition to stone axes, hones, and querns, a major area of concern is with building materials, where sheer quantities often overwhelm even the most smoothly run operations.
In addition, consideration of standing buildings helps to put excavated material into a wider context. He concludes with recommendations that point to areas where more research and evaluation are needed, based firmly on the necessary condition that any changes to current practices must be demonstrably useful, and lead to a substantially better understanding of the past.