Large Blades and Lever Technique

Methods associated with the pressure technique in the Near East evolved significantly during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic. The earliest appearance so far known of large obsidian blades produced by pressure with the use of a lever is attested in the High Valleys at Çayönü Tepesi during the second part of the 8th millennium and beginning of the 7th millennium cal. BC and in the Balikh Valley at Sabi Abyad I at the middle of the 7th millenium BC. These large blades prefigure the obsidian specimens found in Aratashen in the Southern Caucasus, in the 6th millennium cal. BC. In flint the technique is apparent in Canaanean blade during the 4th and 3rd millennia in Northern Mesopotamia. In Europe, from Bulgaria to Portugal, the earliest examples are found in the Early Neolithic of Greece around 6,624–6,378 cal. BC. Dr Jacques Pelegrin has identified five different 'technical modes' or 'mechanical steps' present in the production of micro-bladelets 'in the hand' to the very large blades detached with the use of a lever. He has demonstrated with the help of experiment how each mode can be recognised. The diffusion of this technique can then be observed through time and space, revealing the organization of craftsmanship and the networks connecting ancient communities.

Altinbilek C., Astruc L., Binder D., Pelegrin J., 2012, Pressure blade production with a lever in the Early and Late Neolithic of the Near-East, In : P. M. Desrosiers (Ed.), The Emergence of Pressure Blade Making, From Origin to Modern Experimentation, Springler: 157-179.



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