«BULLETIN OF THE IRKUTSK STATE UNIVERSITY. GEOARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, AND ANTHROPOLOGY SERIES»
ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2017. Vol. 22

Impact of Flaking Technique on Selection of Blanks for Main Categories of Retouched Tools in the Upper Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic of Northwestern Caucasus (on the Materials of Mezmaiskaya Cave)

Author(s)
A. G. Nedomolkin
Abstract
The study is aimed to determine flaking products that were used as blanks for production of main categories of retouched tools, as well as the impact provided by change in the flaking technique on the blanks during the Upper Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic in the northwestern Caucasus. Nowadays, most of these assemblages come from old excavations and lack a significant portion of micro-artifacts. Mezmaiskaya cave is presented now as the reference of an Upper Paleolithic (UP) / Epipaleolithic (EPP) site in the region. The analysis of lithic assemblages from Mezmaiskaya cave reveals that the assemblages from UP levels (layers 1A2, 1A1/1A2, and 1A1) show the following features: 1) micro-bladelets and bladelets with width of 4–10 mm were preferred blanks for manufacture of bladelets with a blunted back (backed bladelets) 2) micro-bladelets and bladelets with width of 3–7 mm, and narrow blades with width of 10–12 mm were used for manufacture of points 3) end-scrapers in these layers were made on wide and massive blanks – flakes and technical flakes 4) blades and flakes were selected for making burins, and the main selection criterion was the thickness of the blank (4 to 8 mm.). The EPP layer 1–3 in Mezmaiskaya cave differs from the earlier layers in the typological composition of tools, and in sizes and types of flaking products used as blanks for tools: 1) backed bladelets in this layer are made only on bladelets and narrow blades 2) points are made on bladelets, and standardized in width (4–7 mm) and thickness (1,5–3 mm) 3) mostly blades with width of 10–20 mm and thickness of 2–7 mm were used as blanks for production of end-scrapers 4) geometric microliths are made on bladelets and narrow blades. We can assume that a change in the flaking technique was one of main reasons for changes in blanks used for tools. Preliminary results indicate that the number of laminar products with metric parameters corresponding to the pressure technique increases upward and reaches maximum values in the upper horizons 1 and 2 of layer 1-3. Narrow blades with width of 10–17 mm were used to make segments, trapezes, triangles, end-scrapers, and denticulated tools. Bladelets were used for points, backed bladelets, and geometric microliths. In layers 1A2 and 1A1/1A2, the stone knapping was aimed to obtaining narrow and relatively massive bladelets and micro-bladelets that were used as blanks for the most numerous categories of tools – backed bladelets and points however, blades are not numerous in these layers.
Keywords
blade flaking, tool blanks, Upper Paleolithic, Epipaleolithic, Mezmaiskaya cave
UDC
902.21(470.6)"6325"
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