Old friends, new friends, a long-lost friend and false friends: tales from Project JADE - NMS Research Repository
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Old friends, new friends, a long-lost friend and false friends: tales from Project JADE

2011

Abstract

Our understanding of the production, distribution and use of Neolithic axeheads, adzeheads and chisels made of jadeitite and other rare Alpine rockshas been transformed by a major international French-led research project, Project JADE. This has systematically recorded and mapped all such objects longer than 135 mm across Europe - extending its coverage to all artefacts of Alpine rock in Britain, Ireland and the Channel Islands, irrespective of length - and collating information about contexts, dating and depositional practices at a pan-European scale. The research has involved a remarkable amount of work 'behind the scenes' in museums and private collections across the continent. This has led to new discoveries and to the challenging of old provenances and associations. Focusing on the results for Britain and Ireland, this paper highlights the new information that has been obtained on well-known examples and shows what else has been learnt from the project: the additional specimens, the remarkable stories of individual objects, and the need to be able to recognise 'false friends' - ethnographical objects and Neolithic specimens from elsewhere in Europe, collected by antiquaries.

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