Dating simple flakes: Early Bronze Age flake production technology on the Middle Euphrates Steppe, Syria

  • Yoshihiro Nishiaki The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033
Keywords: the third millennium Mesopotamia, core reduction technology, the Middle Euphrates, pastoral nomadism


Aceramic flint scatters, comprising very crude cores or flakes and no formalised tools, are frequently found on the Middle Euphrates steppe of northern Syria. Previous studies suggest that many of them are residues of short-term activities by the nomads or shepherds of the Early Bronze Age. In order to verify this interpretation, a more precise chronological framework needs to be established for the Early Bronze Age lithic industry. This paper analyses stratified flake assemblages of the Early Bronze Age at Tell Ghanem al-Ali, a securely radiocarbon-dated settlement on the Middle Euphrates, and examines which occupation level yields assemblages most similar to those of the steppe. Results demonstrate that the lithic industry of this period underwent significant diachronic changes in terms of core reduction technology. Based on the chronological framework developed at Tell Ghanem al-Ali, the steppe assemblages in question can be assigned to different phases of the Early Bronze Age. This finding will help identify processes at the beginning of the extensive exploitation of the steppe, which is regarded as one of the most important socioeconomic changes that occurred among Early Bronze Age communities of the Middle Euphrates.


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How to Cite
Nishiaki, Y. (2014). Dating simple flakes: Early Bronze Age flake production technology on the Middle Euphrates Steppe, Syria. Journal of Lithic Studies, 1(1), 197-212.
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