Specialized Levallois blade technology

In this case Boëda recognizes that the concept of Levallois technology is being stretched beyond its conventional definitions and concedes that the blade techniques which he describes under this heading approach more closely to those documented in fully Upper Palaeolithic industries (Boëda 1988b). Two main criteria are used to distinguish these methods from those described above (Fig. 3.19). First, the flaking surfaces of these specialized blade cores are usually more

Levallois Technique

Figure 3.19 Schematic representation of Boëda s 'specialized Levallois' technique of blade production, as illustrated at the site of Seclin (northern France). In this technique a succession of elongated blades was removed from successively deeper levels of one face of the core, assisted by the detachment of 'edge-removal' flakes ('éclats débordants') from the two lateral edges of the core. After Boëda 1988b

Figure 3.19 Schematic representation of Boëda s 'specialized Levallois' technique of blade production, as illustrated at the site of Seclin (northern France). In this technique a succession of elongated blades was removed from successively deeper levels of one face of the core, assisted by the detachment of 'edge-removal' flakes ('éclats débordants') from the two lateral edges of the core. After Boëda 1988b

Levallois Technique

Figure 3.20 Examples of blades from the site of Seclin (northern France) dated by thermoluminescence to ca 90,000 BP. The two pieces on the bottom right-hand-side are examples of typical crested blades ('lames-a-crete) used to initiate the sequence of blade detachments from the core, and closely resembling techniques used on Upper Palaeolithic sites. After Revillion 1989.

Figure 3.20 Examples of blades from the site of Seclin (northern France) dated by thermoluminescence to ca 90,000 BP. The two pieces on the bottom right-hand-side are examples of typical crested blades ('lames-a-crete) used to initiate the sequence of blade detachments from the core, and closely resembling techniques used on Upper Palaeolithic sites. After Revillion 1989.

Figure 3.21 Blade cores from the site of Seclin. Nos 1-5 are examples of Boeda's 'specialized Levallois' blade cores (see Fig. 3.19), while nos 6-7 are examples of fully prismatic cores, closely similar to Upper Palaeolithic forms. After Revillion 1989.
Figure 3.22 Examples of blades and blade cores from level CA of the site of Riencourt-les-Bapaumes in northern France. Nos 1,5 & 6 illustrate the use of the 'lame-a-crete' technique. After Tuffreau 1992.

markedly convex than in the case of normal Levallois cores, and as a result allowed the removal of blades over a greater proportion of the total core surface than the conventional, more flat-faced Levallois cores. In this sense the technique can be seen as more economical or more productive than in the classical Levallois methods, allowing the production of a much greater number of blades from a given volume of raw material. Second, the lateral edges of these specialized cores were prepared not by initial, centripetal flaking around all the core perimeter, as in the case of classical Levallois methods, but instead by the removal of two major edge-preparation flakes (éclats débordants) extending vertically down each side of the core (cf. Beyries & Boëda 1983). Once the basic form of the core had been roughed out in this way, a succession of elongated, regular blade removals could be detached in direct succession from prepared striking platforms at either or both ends of the core, i.e. by means of either unipolar or bipolar flaking (Fig. 3.19).

The clearest illustration of this technique has been documented at the site of Seclin (Pas-de-Calais), excavated by Alain Tuffreau and dated to the earlier stages of the last glaciation, around 90,000 BP, according to the results of TL dating of burnt flint samples (Tuffreau et al. 1985). A detailed account of the blade technology at Seclin has been published by S. Révillion (1989) based largely on a series of reconstructions of groups of conjoining flakes and associated cores. The basic blade-production strategies described by Révillion correspond reasonably closely with those described by Boëda under his heading of 'specialized Levallois' strategies discussed above. Révillion, however, is more inclined to stress the distinctively Upper Palaeolithic character of some aspects of the blade production on the site. He points out, for example, that many of the blade cores show blade removals extending around a substantial part of the core surface and in some cases around the whole of the core to produce a fully prismatic form (Fig. 3.21). He argues that in 'volumetric' terms, these cores are more akin to Upper Palaeolithic than to Middle Palaeolithic forms. He also stresses the relatively standardized character of the blades, mostly with length-over-breadth ratios ranging between 2.0 and 2.5, though admitting that these are generally less elongated than those documented from most Upper Palaeolithic sites and generally show more complex patterns of preparatory scar facets on their dorsal surfaces (Fig. 3.20). More significantly, perhaps, he also points out that the great majority of these blade forms show clearly faceted striking platforms and seem invariably to have been struck with a 'hard' rather than a 'soft' hammer - both of which would usually be regarded as much more typically Middle than Upper Palaeolithic features. Overall, therefore, the assemblage could be said to show an interesting mixture of both Middle and Upper Palaeolithic forms.

Was this article helpful?

+1 -2

Responses

  • rick doninger
    These same type artifacts are being found in the USA. Levallois cores, core tools, points, blades. and more have been found on a single naturally exposed site in Indiana. Check out "Levallois in the USA" or "Mousterian in the USA" . Mainstream archaeology is ignoring the finds thus far despite the rock solid artifactual evidence of a lithic industry unlike any known Native American lithic technology paralelled only by Middle and Upper paleo artifacts from abroad. Although no dating on the tools yet, the unambiguous assemblage is clearly Levallois prepared core reduction as is seen from neanderthal sites abroad and sites of the early upper paleolithic.....rick doninger
    8 years ago

Post a comment