Non Levallois blade techniques

This final strategy of blade production is categorized by Boeda as entirely 'non-Leval-lois' in character, and is regarded by him in most respects as almost identical to that documented in fully Upper Palaeolithic industries. The best documented example discussed by Boeda is from the site of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme where a small but closely associated series of conjoining flakes (Figs 3.23, 3.24) was recovered from deposits provisionally and rather tenuously attributed to the early or middle stages of the penultimate glaciation, possibly equivalent to isotope stages 7 or 8 of the ocean-core sequence (de Heinzelin & Haesaerts 1983). Despite the small size of the assemblage, the results of the refitting studies appear to demonstrate a strategy of highly specialized and standardized blade production which involved the use of carefully prepared, elongated cores struck from two opposed striking platforms.

Figure 3.23 Refitted group of blades and striking-platform preparation flakes from St-Valery-sur-Somme (northern France). After de Heinzelin & Haesaerts 1983.

The critical feature which distinguishes this strategy from that documented in the various Levallois techniques discussed earlier is that the active face of the core, from which the various blade removals were struck, appears to extend around the greater part of the circumference of the core rather than being restricted to one clearly delimited flaking surface. As Boeda (1988b) points out, this technique allowed virtually continuous flaking and successive reduction of the greater part of the core surface and accordingly allowed the maximum possible production of blade removals from the available nodules of raw material (Fig. 3.25). In terms of Boeda's concepts, it is this capacity for almost exponential reduction of the core volume which sets this technique apart from all recognized Levallois strategies and which characterizes the flaking strategy as fully Upper Palaeolithic in both technology and concept.

How far the blade technique documented at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme can be separated from that documented at Seclin discussed above is more debatable. Although the majority of the blade cores recovered from Seclin were apparently flaked over only a single major surface (and in this sense con-

Figure 3.24 Two groups of refitted blades and flakes from St-Valery-sur-Somme (northern France). After de Heinzelin & Haesaerts 1983.

form to Boëda's notion of the basic Levallois concept) the recent analysis of Révillion shows that in some cases this flaking was extended continuously around all the core circumference, leading to the production of cores that were fully prismatic (Révillion

1989). Thus, at least some of the cores at Seclin would appear to reflect an equal if not greater capacity for exponential reduction of the core volume than those documented at Saint-Valéry (Fig. 3.21). Equally significant is that the blade technology employed at Seclin

Nucleus Mousterien

§H Utilized volume

Residual volume [o] Prepared surface

9] Flaking surface

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