Programmes > Par auteur > Aviad Agam

Understanding the function of small flakes from Late Acheulean Revadim, Israel
Venditti Flavia  1, 2, *@  , Agam Aviad  2, *@  , Barkai Ran  2, *@  
1 : Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" [Rome]  -  Site web
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma -  Italie
2 : Tel Aviv University [Tel Aviv]  -  Site web
P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801 -  Israël
* : Auteur correspondant

The presence of small tools in Lower Palaeolithic contexts is part of a wide discussion concerning Mode 1 versus Mode 2 technological traditions and closely relates to the question to what extent can the presence/absence of handaxes be considered a techno-cultural marker of Acheulean industries. Researches of the Acheulean techno-complex were mainly centred on the study of handaxes and cleavers, rather than on flakes, cores, and smaller flaked pieces that numerically dominate most assemblages. In recent years, the discovery of Acheulean assemblages devoid of bifaces, in which flakes and small flakes are dominant, has led researchers to pay more attention to the technological aspects of this small débitage production, reconsidering the definition of Lower Palaeolithic lithic traditions.

Within this general framework, Revadim could be considered a key-site in the debate concerning the relationship between small tools and biface production and use, and it can serve as a platform for further studying the small component of Lower Palaeolithic assemblages.

Revadim is a multi-layered Late Acheulean site in the Levant which yielded rich lithic assemblages comprising dozens of handaxes as well and many thousands of other items, and mostly flakes. The functional study presented here focuses on layer C3 which is the densest layer at the site in terms of flint artefacts and bones. It is characterised by an intense production of flakes within which a specific lithic trajectory oriented towards the production of small blanks from existing flakes has been recognised as a specific trajectory of lithic recycling. In this layer, bifaces are rather rare, but bifaces do appear in greater numbers in area B and in the layer C5 of area C, and both these contexts seem to be earlier than layer C3. Notwithstanding the strong post-depositional alterations that affected the C3 assemblage and mostly prevented the analysis of small flakes at high magnification, the percentage of used blanks based on the edge-damage investigation is rather high. This is mostly true for specific technological categories of small flakes produced by means of lithic recycling (e.g. double ventral Kombewa, double ventral Regular and Lateral items). The results suggest a preference towards a free hand manipulation mostly concerning longitudinal activity, and transversal motions have been identified as well. The activities carried out with these small flakes seem oriented towards the processing of soft to medium materials. Moreover, the results aroused from the residue analysis allowed, in some cases, to identify the nature of the worked materials in order to reach a more accurate archaeological interpretation.


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