The Obsidian Use Project (OUP) has its roots in 2000 in the development of research into obsidian technology conducted in Upper Mesopotamia and Cyprus by L. Astruc. At this point, little was known about the use of obsidian tools in the Near-East and the need for reference collections for technological and use-wear analysis was obvious. The first experimental program took place in the Archéodrome de Beaune between 2001 and 2003 ('Obsidian, Technology and Function'). A team of scholars of different nationalities (French, Spanish and Greek) organized these three seasons with the support of Marie-Chantal Frère-Sautot, several students and researchers from Bulgaria, France, Italy and Turkey joined for short periods.
The project has taken on a new dimension with the collaboration between the CNRS and the Section of Prehistory of Istanbul University involving two successive research programs -funded by CNRS/ATIP (2006-2007) and ANR 'ObsidianUs' (2008-2012)-. The aims are to build up new experimental reference collection, to develop methodologies including tribology (the science of friction, wear and adhesion) and to analyse archaeological material.
The institutional partners in the Obsidian Use Project in Anatolia are: the CNRS (IFEA, ArScan) in collaboration with the Department of Prehistory of Istanbul University and the Tribology and System Dynamics Laboratory (LTDS, Ecole Centrale de Lyon, Université de Saint-Etienne, Université de Lyon). The scientific program has been developed with partnerships with the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester. Fundamental work involving geology and obsidian sourcing is a collaborative agreement between N.Balkan-Atli (head of the Section of Prehistory, Istanbul University), L. Astruc (CNRS/IFEA) and N. Dalfes (Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi/EIES). The laboratory work has been entrusted by N. Balkan-Atli and L. Astruc to IRAMAT (Orléans) for chemical analysis and to LSCE (Gif-sur-Yvette) for magnetic properties.
Methodological approaches are also being conducted to support the analyses of archaeological material, notably within the program entitled 'Neolithic communities in Anatolia, exchange networks and interaction. Technological and techno-functional approaches of the lithic industries'. This program was built up by L. Astruc in 2007 with the support of Mehmet Özdogan, Nur Balkan-Atli and Mihriban Özbasaran in two different regions, namely Central Anatolia and Eastern Anatolia, with three main themes: the definition of site function (subsistence activity and craftsmanship), the comprehensive analysis of 'microlithism' as a technical and cultural phenomenon, and the micro-regional analysis of technical traditions.