A few good blades: An experimental test on the productivity of blade cores from the Casa Montero Early Neolithic flint mine (Madrid, Spain)

  • Nuria Castañeda Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Keywords: productivity, experimental test, blade production, Casa Montero flint mine, Early Neolithic

Abstract


Casa Montero flint mine (5337-5218 cal. BCE) was a production centre of blades that were probably distributed in a broad regional framework. Recent research on its lithic record has provided a method for the calculus of productivity for the blade cores based on the striking platform potential area. Taking into account several factors involved when discarding a blade for use it, the resulting ratio of useful blades per core was smaller than expected in contrast with the high number of cores abandoned in the site.

Shape, size and quality variability of raw material increased the difficulty of that approach. The blade reduction at Casa Montero was determined by the raw material variability within a core, the occurrence of raw material defects and knapping accidents and the presence of knappers with different skill levels. Most of the cores were discarded at different moments of the reduction process and only 40.5% reached the production of blades. The estimation results show a ratio of 3 to 20 blades per core. Nevertheless, an estimated amount of ~251,000 adequate blades were produced and potentially used in a time span of just a hundred years and in a context of very low population density as the Central Iberian Peninsula in Early Neolithic was.

In order to contrast the core productivity estimation method, an experimental test was carried out. This paper focuses on the results of this test, applying and adjusting the initial method.

Author Biography

Nuria Castañeda, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
UMR 8215-Trajectoires
Maison Archéologie & Ethnologie, René-Ginouvès
Allée de l’Université, 21. F-92023
Nanterre Cedex
France

UMR 8215 Trajectoires

Post-doctoral position

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Published
15-Sep-2016
How to Cite
Castañeda, N. (2016). A few good blades: An experimental test on the productivity of blade cores from the Casa Montero Early Neolithic flint mine (Madrid, Spain). Journal of Lithic Studies, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v3i2.1435
Section
ISKM 2015 - Barcelona