2018-01-13 15:09:48 • ID: 1705
πάντα ῥεῖ (panta rhei)
In this post we see several prepared cores, most of them are discoidal and two in Figure 2 are Levallois. The Flint examples come from South Italy (Fig.1), the Quartzite examples from Northern Hessen in Germany (Fig. 2).
The phrase πάντα ῥεῖ (panta rhei) "everything flows" either was spoken by Heraclitus or survived as a quotation of his. "No man ever steps in the same river twice". This means that we are changing and the river is changing. Hominins have the ability to change and adapt to a dynamic environment.
The beginnings of prepared core technology have already detected during the ESA in Africa and Europe.
After 300 k.a. our ancestors created a stable system of several prepared core techniques and changed them according to their needs. The Archeological record in Africa and Eurasia is very similar in this respect
The classic Levallois reduction is clearly geared towards removing large flakes from a surface rather than a volume (Boeda 1995), controlling the size of the product and the productivity of the core. This Concept is defined by several features
The volume of the piece is conceived as two surfaces separated by a plane of intersection These surfaces are hierarchically related, one being a striking platform surface and the other a flaking surface.
The flaking surface show the maintenance of distal and lateral convexities The fracture plane for the removal is broadly parallel to the plane of intersection the junction between the flaking surface and the striking platform (the hinge) is perpendicular to the axis of percussion and oriented to allow the removal of flakes from the flaking surface
Flaking is exclusively done with a hard hammer It remains unclear if one or more of these principles is absent, can the technology still be considered Levallois? Some researchers maintain that you can still call a technique Levallois if only one essential is present: two hierarchically related surfaces separated by a plane of intersection.
Another open question is the issue of predetermination or intentionality. Although it is popularly to perceive intentionality to be inherent in the Levallois strategy, it has been disputed by some writers, particularly in questioning the Levallois method as a means of producing “privileged flakes.”
Davidson (2002) uses Van Peer’s refitting work, which showed that many preparatory flakes were absent from knapping floors at several MSA sites in Upper Egypt, suggesting that Levallois flakes were not necessarily the desired end product. In this view even the most famous product of the Levallois technique, the Levallois point may be non-intentional under certain circumstances.
In 1995 Boeda defined the Discoid concept:
- "The core volume, conceived as two oblique symmetric convex surfaces marked by one theoretical plane of intersection
- The non-existence of hierarchization between the two surfaces of a core. One is conceived as a flaking surface, and the other as striking platform, but with the possibility of role inversion during one operational sequence.
- The flaking surface is prepared in order to predetermine certain products obtained this way. The technical cri- terion for predetermination consists of more or less pronounced peripherical convexity, with the aim of controlling lateral and distal detachment of each predetermined removal.
- In order to bring the predeterminant and predetermined detachments in correspondence with the conceived aims, the preparation of the core surface for striking platforms emplacement is undertaken.
In spite of its particularity, all these preparations share the same criteria: the flaking axis of predetermined removals is perpendicular to the striking platform employed to obtain it.
- The detachment plane of predeterminant and predetermined removals is oblique with respect to the theoretical plane on intersection of the two core surfaces.
- The sole flaking technique employed during the discoid operational scheme is direct percussion by a hard stone hammer".
While the knapper can change between several modes within one of the basic concepts (Levallois: “preferential” and “recurrent” methods; by unidirectional, bidirectional, or centripetal flaking); (Discoidal: unifacial (pyramidal section), bifacial (bipyramidal section) and multifacial (globular section) exploitation, with a different grade of hierarchization of its surfaces (Xavier Terradas), there seems no way, that a Discoid core is transformed into a Levallois core.
Anyhow the steadily flow and change within the concepts shows the enormous flexibility of early stone knappers.