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by Archaeology Newsroom

Stone in the Service of Art and Life

Undoubtedly stone vessels represent an important and distinguished creation. Although they do not belong to the objects necessary for the everyday life, nevertheless they are important, because they directly refer to the level of development and achievements, the aesthetics, the values and belief of the society that has produced and used them. They stand out thanks to the peculiarity of the material they are made from, which results from the natural colour, durability and difficulty in workmanship of stone. Our knowledge of the way the raw material could be transformed to a vessel is limited, because the available information is meager and fragmentary. Since a fully equipped workshop of a stone carver has not been found as yet, it is the vases themselves, mainly the unfinished ones and the waste. that supply the indications of their manufacturing. Therefore. the testimonies deriving from the broader area of Near East are valuable. Thus, we can conclude in general that the entire carving procedure -carving of the exterior, scooping out of the Interior- was carried out in the workshop; and that the tools of the early stone carving were gradually replaced by more advanced ones, made of bronze in particular. The first stage included the rough forming of the volumes through hammer-hewing. The smoothing out of the surfaces followed that was achieved using blades and chisels. The tools for the hollowing of the open and shallow forms and shapes were blades, solid grinding implements and, later, chisels. The use of chisels for the processing of soft stones continued throughout the Bronze Age, while the employment of drill represented a novelty in the hollowing of vessels. Rotating. originally. between the palms and later with the help of a bow and crank, it became the indispensable tool of the stone carver, while sand and ground abrasives, such as emery and quartz, were required additionally for hard stones. When the hollowing was completed. then the final elaboration of the vase exter or followed, which included the rendering of particular details of its form, the finishing and the polishing of the artifact.