Toolstone constraints on knapping skill: Levallois reduction with two different raw materials

Eren, Metin I. and Lycett, Stephen J. and Roos, Christopher I. and Sampson, C. Garth (2011) Toolstone constraints on knapping skill: Levallois reduction with two different raw materials. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38 (10). pp. 2731-2739. ISSN 0305-4403 . (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Lithic raw material constraints are widely assumed to be a determining factor of flaked stone tool morphology, but this assumption remains largely untested. We conducted a controlled experiment to determine whether a knapper’s growing replication skills would be hindered if the toolstone used was switched from large flakes of an easily worked chert to nodules of less tractable one. Two batches of Preferential Levallois cores were knapped, an earlier series made from standardised large flakes of sediments dominated by chalcedonic quartz followed by a more challenging one using variably-shaped, cortical nodules of microcrystaline quartz that varies in the completeness of quartz replacement of calcite and dolomite. Skill level markers were designed to measure the knapper’s ability to achieve a series of set goals. These were quantified and subjected to statistical testing. In all but one test, significant increases in skill could be detected from the earlier to the later batch of reductions, despite the drop in toolstone quality. Significant improvements in the consistency of the knapper’s output could also be detected. However, the switch to a more challenging, nodular chert did require extra shaping, which resulted in more waste. This masked visible progress towards producing a less costly core. Overall, our results do not support the assumed primacy of toolstone constraints over other factors in influencing the morphology of flaked stone tools.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Lithic raw material constraints; Experimental archaeology; Middle Paleolithic; Flintknapping skill; Preferential Levallois
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Social and Cultural Anthropology
Depositing User: Shelley Malekia
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2012 11:53
Last Modified: 29 May 2014 15:12
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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