3 2 2016

Preliminary experimental insights into differential heat impact among lithic artifacts

Guillermo Bustos-Pérez, Javier Baena Preysler

Abstract


The presence of thermally altered and broken flint artifacts is common at archaeological sites. Most studies focus their attention on the effects of heat treatment on flint to improve knapping qualities, disregarding the effects of fire over flint under uncontrolled conditions. This paper aims to show how under uncontrolled heating processes flint artifacts develop different heat alterations (such as levels of breakage, presence of scales, etc.) as a result of vertical distribution, volume or raw material and to establish a gradient of rock changes and behavior. Artifacts where macroscopically analyzed and a series of uncontrolled heating experiments through the distribution of flint blanks under two hearths were carried out, allowing a comparison of the before and after of the blanks. Preliminary results show how levels of breakage, surface alteration or development of heat alteration features can be differentiated according to artifact volume, vertical distribution and level of surface alteration. Results also show how two different raw materials react differently to similar thermal impact, and how surface alteration reacts at different rhythm in the case of recycled artifacts. We conclude that levels of thermal alteration can be differentiated through macroscopic analysis of flint surface.


Keywords


lithic studies; heat alterations; breakage; experimental archaeology; hearths

Full Text:

PDF HTML

References


Aldeias, V., Goldberg, P., Sandgathe, D., Berna, F., Dibble, H.L., McPherron, S.P., Turq, A. & Rezek, Z. 2012, Evidence for Neandertal use of fire at Roc de Marsal (France). Journal of Archaeological Science, 39: 2414-2423. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2012.01.039

Blasco, R., Rosell, J., Gopher, A. & Barkai, R. 2014, Subsistence economy and social life: A zooarchaeological view from the 300 kya central hearthh at Qesem Cave, Israel. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 35: 248-268. doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2014.06.005

Borradaile, G.J., Kissin, S.A., Stewart, J.D., Ross, W.A. & Werner, T. 1993, Magnetic and optical methods for detecting the heat treatment of chert. Journal of Archaeological Science, 1993: 57-66. doi:10.1006/jasc.1993.1004

Bustillo, M.A. & Pérez-Jiménez, J.L. 2005, Características diferenciales y génesis de los niveles silíceos explotados en el yacimiento arqueológico de Casa Montero (Vicálvaro, Madrid). Geogaceta, 38: 243-246. (in Spanish) ("Differential features and genesis of silica levels mined in the Casa Montero archaeological site. (Vicálvaro, Madrid)"). URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10272/8693

Carrington, M.E. 2010, Effects of Soil Temperature during Fire on Seed Survival in Florida Sand Pine Scrub. International Journal of Forestry Research, 2010: 10p. doi:10.1155/2010/402346

Clemente-Conte, I. 1995, Sílex y lustre térmico en el Paleolítico Medio. ¿Alteración o técnica de talla? El ejemplo de Mediona I (Alt Penedès, Barcelona). Trabalhos de Antropologia e Etnologia, 35(3): 37-43. (in Spanish) (Flint and thermal gloss at the Middle Paleolithic. Thermal alteration or knapping technique? The example of Mediona I (Alt Penedès, Barcelona) URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10261/47869

Clemente-Conte, I. 1997, Thermal Alterations of Flint Implements and the Conservation of Microwear Polish: Preliminary Experimental Observations. In: Siliceous Rocks and Culture, (Ramos Millan, A. & Bustillo, M.A., Eds.), Universidad de Granada, Granada: p. 525-535.

Crabtree, D.E. & Butler, B.R. 1964, Notes on Experiment in Flint Knapping: 1 Heat Treatment of Silica Materials. Tebiwa, 7: 1-6.

Dorta, R., Hernández, C., Molina, F. & Galván Santos, B. 2010, La alteración térmica en los sílex de los valles alcoyanos (Alicante, España). Una aproximación desde la arqueología experimental en contextos del Paleolítico Medio: El Salt. Recerques del Museu d'Alcoi, 19: 33-64. (in Spanish) ("The thermal alteration in the Alcoyan flint (Alcoy, Alicante, Spain). An approach from the experimental archaeology in Middle Palaeolithic contexts: El Salt of Alcoy (Spain)") URL: http://www.raco.cat/index.php/RecerquesMuseuAlcoi/article/view/197124

Fernandes, P. & Raynal, J.-P. 2006, Pétroarchéologie du silex: un retour aux sources. Compets Rendus Palevol, 5: 829-837. (in French) ("Petroarchaeology of flint artefacts – a return to the source") doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2006.04.002

Fernández Peris, J., Barciela González, V., Blasco, R., Cuartero, F., Fluck, H., Sañudo, P. & Verdasco, C. 2012, The earliest evidence of hearthhs in Southern Europe: The case of Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain). Quaternary International, 247: 267-277. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2010.10.014

Frick, J.A., Hoyer, C.T., Herkert, K. & Floss, H. 2012, Comparative heating experiments on flint from the Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy, France. Anthropologie, 3: 295-321. URL: http://puvodni.mzm.cz/Anthropologie/article.php?ID=1487

Fukuda, J. & Nakashima, S. 2008, Water at high temperatures in a microcrystalline silica (chalcedony) by in-situ infrared spectroscopy: physicochemical states and dehydration behavior. Journal of Mineralogical and Petrological Sciences, 103: 112-115. doi:10.2465/jmps.071022a

Goldberg, P., Dibble, H.L., Berna, F., Sandgathe, D., McPherron, S.J.P. & Turq, A. 2012, New evidence on Neandertal use of fire: Examples from Roc de Marsal and Pech de l'Aze IV. Quaternary International, 247: 325-340. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2010.11.015

Henry, D. 2012, The palimpsest problem, hearthh pattern analysis, and Middle Paleolithic site structure. Quaternary International, 247: 246-266. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2010.10.013

Hiscock, P. 2002, Quantifying the Size of Artefact Assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Science, 29: 251-258. doi:10.1006/jasc.2001.0705

Inizan, M.-L., Reduron-Ballinger, M., Roche, H. & Tixier, J. 1995, Technologie de la pierre taillée. Vol. 4. Préhistoire de la Pierre Taillée. Cercle de Recherches et d'Etudes Préhistoriques (C.R.E.P.), Meudon, 199 p.

Karkanas, P., Shahack-Gross, R., Ayalon, A., Bar-Matthews, M., Barkai, R., Frumkin, A., Gopher, A. & Stiner, M.C. 2007, Evidence for habitual use of fire at the end of the Lower Paleolithic: Site-formation processes at Qesem Cave, Israel. Journal of Human Evolution, 53: 197-212. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.04.002

Mallol, C., Hernández, C.M., Cabanes, D., Sistiaga, A., Machado, J., Rodríguez, Á., Pérez, L. & Galván, B. 2013, The black layer of Middle Palaeolithic combustion structures. Interpretation and archaeostratigraphic implications. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40: 2515-2537. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2012.09.017

March, R.J., Ferreri, J.C. & Guez, C. 1993, Étude des foyers préhistoriques des gisements magdaléniens du Bassin Parisien. Mémoires du Groupement Archéologique de Seine-et-Marne, 1: 87-95.

March, R.J., Lucquin, A., Joly, D., Ferreri, J.C. & Muhieddine, M. 2014, Processes of Formation and Alteration of Archaeological Fire Structures: Complexity Viewed in the Light of Experimental Approaches. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 21: 1-45. doi:10.1007/s10816-012-9134-7

Mercierca, A. 2000, Burnt and broken: An experimental study of heat fracturing in silcrete. Australian Archaeology, 51: 40-47. doi:10.1080/03122417.2000.11681679

Mercierca, A. & Hiscock, P. 2008, Experimental insights into alternative strategies of lithic heat treatment. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35: 2634-2639. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2008.04.021

Ortiz Nieto-Márquez, I. & Baena Preysler, J. 2015, Experiments around the fire. Discovering human and natural processes in Middle Paleolithic Hearths. Anthropologie, 53(3): 501-518. URL: http://puvodni.mzm.cz/Anthropologie/article.php?ID=2155

Patterson, L. 1995, Thermal damage of chert. Lithic Technology, 20(1): 72-80. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23273161

Schmidt, P., Masse, S., Laurent, G., Slodczyk, A., Le Bourhis, E., Perrenoud, C., Livage, J. & Fröhlich, F. 2012, Crystallographic and structural transformations of sedimentary chalcedony in flint upon heat treatment. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39: 135-144. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2011.09.012

Shea, J.J. 2003, The Middle Paleolithic of the East Mediterranean Levant. Journal of World Prehistory, 17(4): 313-394. doi:10.1023/B:JOWO.0000020194.01496.fe

Simek, J. 1984, Integrating Pattern and Context in Spatial Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science, 11: 405-420. doi:10.1016/0305-4403(84)90021-9

Vaquero, M. & Pastó, I. 2001, The Definition of Spatial Units in Middle Palaeolithic Sites: The Hearthh-Related Assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Science, 28: 1209-1220. doi:10.1006/jasc.2001.0656

Webb, J. & Domansky, M. 2009, Fire and Stone. Science, 325: 820-821. doi:10.1126/science.1178014




DOI: https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v3i2.1396

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




ISSN 2055-0472 (Online) 
 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 UK: Scotland License.
Privacy and cookies Take Down Policy