Tool Manufacture

Dr. Jacques Pelegrin (Préhistoire et Technology, CNRS, Paris Ouest-La Défense) has begun to build up a reference collection for the identification of knapping techniques. This reference collection will be available for research and education in the Istanbul University, Department of Prehistory.

Method and technique, what is the difference ? „Methods refers to any carefully thought out sequence of interrelated actions, each of which is carried out according to one or more techniques. More often than not, the term method implies an elaborate conceptual scheme leading to the manufacture of predetermined products whether by shaping or flaking.‟ Techniques are physical actions such as a deft flip of the hand, the use of a hard or soft hammer, the interposition of a punch. Thanks to major breakthroughs in experimentation, these knapping techniques are now understood. The criteria used derive from observations made on archaeological assemblages, which are then substantiated by experimentation. (Technology and terminology of Knapped Stone,1999, p. 30).

Reference collection. J. Pelegrin is establishing a reference collection to document the knapping technique used on both obsidian and flint. The techniques employed are direct percussion with a soft stone, indirect percussion and pressure. Experiments have been conducted in IFEA April 2009 and in Aşıklı Höyük in July 2009. The aim was to explore further the parameters of variation in knapping techniques, notably on the local obsidians coming from the Kayırlı and Kaletepe sources, in the Göllüdağ.

‘Prehistoric technology : a reconstitution of lithic production’, Jacques Pélegrin, IFEA, 10 April 2009

In the last 30 years, the scope of prehistoric research has considerably expanded. Originally restricted to typological approaches, it now involves the study of many activities of prehistoric communities, especially the technical ones. Among these activities, that of stone tool production is one of the best recognized, because the tools and waste are well preserved; these are quite easy to study through what we call “technological reading”. Also a few researchers around the world have made seriously attempts to identify the techniques used the manufacture of prehistoric tools, through their practical reproduction. Following some methodological comments, I propose to illustrate some of these techniques by a few short videos. We will end with a discussion about the scientific issues of such an approach, namely the better characterization of lithic production and related traditions and the economic and social aspects including the detection of specialized craftsmen during the Neolithic.


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