Keshia Akkermans

Keshia Akkermans

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Thesis Title

Stepping Stones: Investigating Groundstone Economy at the Birth of Agriculture on the Central Anatolian Plateau.


University of Liverpool


Professor Douglas Baird
Dr Peter Hommel

Research Summary

The appearance of sedentism, or the permanent occupation of settlements, and agriculture has transformed our species. This transition first occurred 14-10,000 years ago in Southwest Asia. Why mobile foragers should abandon extremely successful and low-risk strategies that sustained our species over 290,000 years remains difficult to explain. Over time, these developments appeared in Anatolia, from where they spread into the Balkans and eventually the entire European continent. Technological developments on the Anatolian plateau are therefore pivotal in gaining insight not only into the successful adoption/uptake of new techniques, but also into the process of the spread of new ideas.
Concurrently with this development the first Southwest Asian sedentary and agricultural communities massively expanded their groundstone toolkits. In contrast to chipped stone tools, groundstone tools are made by a combination of flaking, pecking and grinding processes, and are often associated with plant processing. Already in the 1940s Robert Braidwood, a key early scholar of agricultural origins, suggested groundstone had a key role in the transition to sedentism and agriculture. However, for a long time these views have been unpopular due to their apparent technological determinism. As a consequence studies of groundstone have been limited, and the question of their role in the Neolithic transition and therefore the role of technological innovation remains unresolved. My thesis will seek to counterbalance this, and thus reassess the role of technological transformation in large-scale social and economic change.

Research Interests

Ancient Near East,
West Asian archaeology,
Ground stone studies,
Funerary archaeology,
Rock art,
Neolithic and
Bronze Age.


Akkermans, K.A.N., 2023. Death at the Dunnu: Investigating Funerary Variety at Middle Assyrian Tell Sabi Abyad, Syria. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Politopoulos, A. and K.A.N. Akkermans, 2022. A Virtual Journey: het verleden beleefd door videospellen. Phoenix Magazine.

Brusgaard, N.Ø. and K.A.N. Akkermans, 2021. Hunting and Havoc: Narrative Scenes in the Black Desert Rock Art of Jebel Qurma, Jordan, in I. Davidson and A. Nowell (eds), Making Scenes: Global Perspectives on Scenes in Rock Art. New York (NY): Berghahn Books.

Akkermans, P.M.M.G., M. Brüning, M. Arntz, S.A. Inskip and K.A.N. Akkermans, 2020. Desert Tombs: Recent Research into the Bronze Age and Iron Age Cairn Burials of Jebel Qurma, North-East Jordan. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 50, 1-17.

Akkermans, K.A.N., 2020. Bows on Basalt Boulders: Weaponry in Safaitic Rock Art from Jebel Qurma, Black Desert, Jordan, in P.M.M.G. Akkermans (ed), Landscapes of Survival. The Archaeology and Epigraphy of Jordan’s North-Eastern Desert and Beyond. Leiden: Sidestone Press, 305-316.


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