Facial reconstruction

Search LJMU Research Online

Browse Repository | Browse E-Theses

A newly discovered antler flint-knapping hammer and the question of their rarity in the Palaeolithic archaeological record: Reality or bias?

De Groote, IEPM and Delbarre, G and Bello, S and Parfitt, SA (2016) A newly discovered antler flint-knapping hammer and the question of their rarity in the Palaeolithic archaeological record: Reality or bias? Quaternary International, 403. pp. 107-117. ISSN 1040-6182

[img] Text
A new case of antler flint-knapping hammer in Laugerie-Haute West France and the question of their rarity in the Palaeolithic archaeological record reality or bias.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 January 2018.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (180kB)

Abstract

The use of soft (bone, antler, tooth and wood) hammers and retouchers is a key innovation in early stone tool technology, first appearing in the archaeological record with Lower Palaeolithic handaxe industries (e.g. Boxgrove, UK ~ 500 kya). Although organic knapping tools were undoubtedly a component of early human toolkits and are essential, for example, for the manufacture of finely-flaked handaxes, Mousterian scrapers and Upper Palaeolithic blades tools, such archaeological finds are exceptionally rare. In this study, we present qualitative and quantitative analyses (focus variation optical microscope, scanning electron microscope, micro-CT scanning and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy), to characterise use-damage on an antler base from Laugerie-Haute West (France). This specimen was originally identified as a waste-product from splinter manufacture, and the use-damage appears to have been missed. The new analysis shows that prior to being used as a flint-knapping percussor, the red deer antler had been further modified to reduce the length of its beam and to remove the tines. Although minimally used, characteristic use-damage includes attrition (pits and scores), compression of the antler matrix and flint chips embedded within some of the percussion features on the base of the burr. An AMS radiocarbon date of 12385 ± 55 BP (12647 ± 335 BC calibrated) confirms a Magdelanian context for the hammer. The fact that the Laugerie Haute knapping hammer went unrecognised in a well-studied and accessible collection for almost 200 years since its discovery, suggests that antler hammers may be more common than generally assumed. Only further re-examination of prehistoric antlers in museum collections will confirm whether the apparent rarity of antler hammers during the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic is real phenomenon or the result of analytical biases.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0406 Physical Geography And Environmental Geoscience, 2101 Archaeology, 0403 Geology
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 09:42
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 13:40
DOI or Identification number: 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.11.094
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2122

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item