Convergent Scrapers



Figure 10.3 Summary of Dibble's model for the progressive reduction of unretouched flakes into either double and convergent racloirs (upper) or transverse and déjeté racloirs (lower) (see also Figs 3.8, 3.12). The original shape and nature of the edges on the parent flakes are assumed to dictate which particular reduction pattern is followed. After Dibble 1987a.

publications by Leroi-Gourhan (1956, 1966), Combier (1967: 194-6), Jelinek (1976) and indeed by Bordes himself (1953b, 1984: 166-9). Nevertheless, the recent publications of Dibble and Rolland carry these interpretations to a much more sophisticated and systematic level than any of the earlier flirtations with the same ideas.

As discussed in Chapter 4, there are two basic paths along which these processes of reduction and resharpening are assumed to have proceeded (see Fig. 10.3). One starts with the use of simple unretouched flakes as cutting tools which were then progressively retouched into simple, single-edged racloir forms as the edges of the original flakes became blunted. The second involved various subsequent stages of repeated resharpening and remodelling of these simple, single-edged racloirs into a variety of more complex racloir forms. Depending on the shape of the original flake, these might lead to typical transverse racloirs (Fig. 4.8) or (where the tools were manufactured from more elongated, thinner flakes) to various forms of either double or convergent racloirs

(Fig. 4.12: Rolland 1977, 1981, 1988a; Dibble 1984a, 1987a,b,c, 1988b; Rolland & Dibble 1990). According to this model therefore, almost all racloir forms in Middle Palaeolithic industries can be attributed to the progressive reduction and resharpening of pieces which started their initial lives as unretouched, primary flakes. Broadly similar paths have been envisaged for the production of denticulate tools, which are assumed to have started life as simple notch forms, subsequently transformed by the addition of further, adjacent notches along the same working edge (Dibble 1988a: 190; Rolland & Dibble 1990: 485-7).

If the models of Dibble and Rolland are accepted, therefore, we have a situation in which a number of radical transformations could have taken place in the character and composition of the retouched tool component in Middle Palaeolithic industries. If - as they suggest - the edges of cutting tools were likely to become more rapidly damaged in use than those of more robust notched forms, then the effects of intensive resharpening and reduction could easily lead to major changes

Figure 10.4 Dibble & Rolland's hypothetical model of how progressive tool reduction and resharpening can transform an industry from one dominated by notched and denticulated forms to one heavily dominated by racloirs. The model assumes that for each unit of time four flakes are reduced into racloirs, while only one flake is transformed into a denticulate. The model clearly infers a much longer duration of occupation for a racloir-dominated industry than for one dominated by denticulates. After Dibble & Rolland 1992.

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