A Swiss Army Knife from the Upper Paleolithic? Experiments on Non-Projectile Uses of Backed Pieces
15 января 2021 года
19:17
A Swiss Army Knife from the Upper Paleolithic? Experiments on Non-Projectile Uses of Backed Pieces
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Title: A Swiss Army Knife from the Upper Paleolithic? Experiments on Non-Projectile Uses of Backed Pieces
Author, co-author: Taller, Andreas; Taipale, Noora
Abstract: Backed lithic artifacts are an important part of the Upper Paleolithic tool kit, and are often among
the most abundant categories of lithic tools found at Magdalenian and Gravettian sites. Often
these tools are exclusively referred to as projectiles, and indeed many – if not most – backed pieces may have been parts of composite projectile heads, mounted laterally onto organic points (e.g., Allain and Descouts 1957; Allain 1979; Abramova 1982; Bergman and Newcomer 1983; Leroi-Gourhan1983; Plisson 1985; Nuzhnyi 1993; Christensen and Valentin 2004; Sano 2009; Langlais 2010; Araujo-Igreja 2011; Tomasso et al. 2018). Experiments of varying comprehensiveness concerned with the use of (Magdalenian) backed pieces as projectile inserts have confirmed the effectivity of this setup (e.g., Moss and Newcomer 1982; Pétillon et al. 2011; Gauvrit Roux et al. 2020). However, backed pieces sometimes also served other purposes like cutting, sawing, shaving, scraping or perforating (Moss and Newcomer 1982; Moss 1983; Owen 1988; Piel-Desruisseaux 1998; Christensen and Valentin 2004; Taller et al. 2012). The modular technological system involving these lithic artifacts is highly versatile, mobile and dynamic as there are numerous possibilities of use and as the small lithic inserts are easy to transport and the composite tools themselves easy to maintain and repair. Here, we present the results of an experiment where different tasks were carried out using backed pieces hafted in a wooden handle or operated handheld. The design of the handles loosely follows examples found at Canadian Dorset sites where bladelets comparable in size to Magdalenian backed pieces were hafted and used as knives (Owen 1988, 88ff.). We tried out the tools in various activities (cutting, perforating and carving/whittling) on a set of worked materials (wood, antler, marine shell, smoked meat, dried, semi-tanned hide, and tanned leather). After the completion of these tasks, the applicability, durability and usefulness of the setup were evaluated and the lithic inserts were checked microscopically for use-wear traces.

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A Swiss Army Knife from the Upper Paleolithic? Experiments on Non-Projectile Uses of Backed Pieces
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[en] Backed lithic artifacts are an important part of the Upper Paleolithic tool kit, and are often among
the most abundant categories of lithic tools found at Magdalenian and Gravettian sites. Often
these tools are exclusively referred to as projectiles, and indeed many – if not most – backed pieces may have been parts of composite projectile heads, mounted laterally onto organic points (e.g., Allain and Descouts 1957; Allain 1979; Abramova 1982; Bergman and Newcomer 1983; Leroi-Gourhan1983; Plisson 1985; Nuzhnyi 1993; Christensen and Valentin 2004; Sano 2009; Langlais 2010; Araujo-Igreja 2011; Tomasso et al. 2018). Experiments of varying comprehensiveness concerned with the use of (Magdalenian) backed pieces as projectile inserts have confirmed the effectivity of this setup (e.g., Moss and Newcomer 1982; Pétillon et al. 2011; Gauvrit Roux et al. 2020). However, backed pieces sometimes also served other purposes like cutting, sawing, shaving, scraping or perforating (Moss and Newcomer 1982; Moss 1983; Owen 1988; Piel-Desruisseaux 1998; Christensen and Valentin 2004; Taller et al. 2012). The modular technological system involving these lithic artifacts is highly versatile, mobile and dynamic as there are numerous possibilities of use and as the small lithic inserts are easy to transport and the composite tools themselves easy to maintain and repair. Here, we present the results of an experiment where different tasks were carried out using backed pieces hafted in a wooden handle or operated handheld. The design of the handles loosely follows examples found at Canadian Dorset sites where bladelets comparable in size to Magdalenian backed pieces were hafted and used as knives (Owen 1988, 88ff.). We tried out the tools in various activities (cutting, perforating and carving/whittling) on a set of worked materials (wood, antler, marine shell, smoked meat, dried, semi-tanned hide, and tanned leather). After the completion of these tasks, the applicability, durability and usefulness of the setup were evaluated and the lithic inserts were checked microscopically for use-wear traces.
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Автоматическая система мониторинга и отбора информации
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