Journal of Lithic Studies <p>The Journal of Lithic Studies is a peer-reviewed open access journal which focuses on archaeological research into the manufacture and use of stone tools, as well as the origin and properties of the raw materials used in their production. The journal does not focus on any specific geographic region or time period.</p> en-US <p><img src="//" alt="Creative Commons License"> <br> This is an Open Access journal. All material is licensed under a <a href="">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)</a> licence, unless otherwise stated.<br>Please read our <a href="/lithicstudies/about/policies#openAccessPolicy">Open Access, Copyright and Permissions policies</a> for more information.</p> (Otis Crandell) (Library Learning Services, University of Edinburgh) Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 OJS 60 Soft hammerstone percussion use in bladelet debitage during the Magdalenian at Portuguese Estremadura [A utilização do percutor em pedra branda na debitagem lamelar durante o Magdalenense na Estremadura portuguesa] <p>The development of experimental flint knapping programs allowed for the identification of stigmas related to the use of soft hammerstone percussion. Pelegrin (2000) explored the limits and constraints of the use of this type of percussion and since the first publication of these distinctive stigmas this technique was identified in assemblages from different chronologies in Europe and the Near East. The random identification of stigmata evoking the use of soft hammerstone in the lithic collection of layer 3 of Lapa dos Coelhos led to a systematic registration of certain attributes during the study of other Magdalenian collections of Portuguese Estremadura (Abrigo 1 de Vale de Covões, Cabeço de Porto Marinho). A total of 1303 pieces (complete or proximal fragments) was studied. In terms of methodology, theoretical data and confrontation with experimental knapped series supported our analyses and therefore we systematically recorded the following attributes: butt type (cortical, flat, dihedral, faceted, microfaced, linear, punctiform, crushed and retouched), presence of lip, traces of abrasion (slight or marked), presence of cracking in the percussion cone, existence of fine concentric wrinkles from the percussion bulb and presence of an irregular butt line. The analysis and quantification of these percussion stigmas allowed us to identify a significant number of pieces with evidence of soft hammer (organic and mineral) for bladelet production: the percentage of abrasion (slight or marked) and lip is 40%. In variable proportions, but always present, we identified diagnostic stigmas associated with the use of soft hammerstone percussion: cracking of the percussion cone, scabbing of the bulb, irregular butt line and fine and concentric wrinkles from the percussion cone. According to Pelegrin (2000) the occurrence of these stigmas is reduced (in the order of 20%) and variable. We conclude that the recurrent association of distinctive characters suggests that the use of soft hammerstone would have been significant. The absence of data from other chronologies doesn’t allow for an effective comparison of the Upper Palaeolithic sequence: In the sample observed, however, the use of a soft hammerstone seems to have increased during Final Magdalenian. What advantage in the use of a soft hammerstone justifies an increase of its use during the final Magdalenense? According to Pelegrin (2000) there are no advantages compared to the use of an organic hammer: technical execution is no longer easy, abrasion is almost mandatory, therefore it is necessary to prepare the volume prior to debitage. In this case, could there be any economic motivation? The lithological environment of Estremadura makes it easy to obtain hammers of limestone, flint, or thick sandstone. On the other hand, we know that during the Tardiglacial there was a reduction in the catch and consumption of medium and large animals and an increase in the consumption of small animals (Bicho <em>et al.</em> 2000; Bicho <em>et al.</em> 2011; Davis 2002; Gameiro <em>et al.</em> 2017). Could this explain the difficulty in obtaining, and use as a hammer, cervid rods, for example? Pelegrin (2000) hypothesized an eventual relationship with alterations in hunting strategies: during the Tardiglacial the weapons are equipped with lithic tips, causing a need to produce more lithic barbs. Throughout the Tardiglacial, in Portuguese Estremadura we know that, not only increases the typological diversity, but also the amount of armatures (Zilhão 1997; Bicho 1997; 2000; Gameiro 2012). It seems plausible, but impossible to demonstrate, that these economic data are linked to the preferential choice of a type of hammer. The fortuitous and expeditious use of a natural resource easily accessible may have motivated and conditioned a cultural option. Although the evidence presented is still scarce these data should be considered because it is essential for the reconstitution of the spectrum of technical choices made in the past.</p> Cristina Gameiro ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 19 Jan 2018 23:59:42 +0000 Debitagem laminar no Sul do Brasil: Habemus nucleos! <p>Blade <em>debitage</em> is a characteristic production pattern of specific periods and regions during Prehistory. In South America, it is well documented in Argentina, in contexts dating back to early Holocene. In Brazil, it was unknown until 2006, when it was found in three archaeological sites (ACH-LP-01, ACH-LP-03, ALP-AA-03) in the Foz do Chapecó area, upper Uruguay River, South Brazil, in layers from early Holocene. It was associated there with a great variety of other production systems: bifacial shaping of projectile points and large tools, unipolar <em>debitage</em> of large flakes, bipolar <em>debitage</em> of tiny flakes. Silicified sandstone, chalcedony and hyaline quartz are the main used raw materials. To this day, only the products of this <em>debitage</em>, the blades, had been discovered. Cores were lacking, which prevented a complete understanding of the flaking process. Due to the resumption of research in the region from 2013, it was possible to find those cores during surveys in the two following archaeological sites: ACH-LP-07 and RS-URG-01, located on both sides of the Uruguay river, near the mouth of the Chapecó river. We describe in this article five of these cores (4 from ACH-LP-07 and 1 from RS-URG-01). Their analyses demonstrate that this blade <em>debitage</em> complies with only one concept. The core volumetric structure that is the result of this concept displays the following features: 1) Cores have two surfaces: a flat back and a convex but relatively flattened flaking surface, so that they have a general “D” shaped transversal section. At one end, a small surface acts as striking platform during the production of the blades; 2) <em>Debitage</em> begins with a initialization phase of the core during which the striking platform is produced by a large removal. According to the natural properties of the initial volume, the back of the core is obtained either during the selection of the blank, and then it is left in his natural state, or by a preparation by one or more large transversal removals. When present, the scars of the initialization phase of the flaking surface indicate the use of a centripetal method. This preparation is made possible by the acute angle of the peripheral ridge formed by the intersection of the back and the flaking surface ; 3) Blades are always produced by a unidirectional parallel method. Production variability is mainly related to the flaking technique: both internal percussion by stone and marginal percussion by organic percussor were used to get the blades. Technical information provided by the cores are complementary and in accordance with those from the previous analyses of the blades from the same area. With these two studies it was possible to reach a relatively exhaustive understanding of this production system in the upper Uruguay River during early Holocene, the only well documented blade <em>debitage</em> in Brazil known until now. Future research will explore the interactions between this production and the other <em>debitage</em> and shaping methods inside this early Holocene technological system. To do this, we will develop a comprehensive study of all lithic artefacts from the archaeological layers in which blade production was identified. In a wider scale, a comparative approach with Argentinian and Uruguayan prehistoric blade productions will allow to better understand the development of the blade phenomenon in the southern cone of South America.</p> Antoine Lourdeau, Mirian Carbonera, Sirlei Hoeltz, Marcos C. Pereira Santos, Lívia de Oliveira e Lucas, Amélie Da Costa, Sibeli Viana ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Sourcing river rock and Middle Stone Age artifacts discovered along the Cunene River, Angola-Namibia border [Prospectando rochas fluviais e artefatos do Paleolítico Médio Africano descobertos ao longo do Rio Cunene, fronteira entre Angola e Namíbia] <p>Although many important prehistoric sites are known from South Africa, few comparable contexts have been discovered and documented in the northern Namibia and southern Angola borderlands. During a geomorphic assessment of riparian corridors in Namibia’s Kaokoveld region, Middle Stone Age (MSA in Africa; broadly correlative with European Paleolithic) lithic artifacts were found preserved in unstratified <em>plein air</em> sites located atop a terrace adjacent to the perennial Cunene River. These remains attest to <em>hominin</em> activities along the northern edge of the modern hyperarid Namib Desert, which receives less than 100 mm of rainfall in a year. The location of the archaeological site is quite remote, and is along the eastern perimeter of the hyperarid Cunene erg (sandsea), and downstream of the Marienfluss–Hartmann Valley near Serra Cafema, At the Cafema site (as it is known), more than 30 lithic artifacts are preserved in the Cunene River valley, in context of a former river terrace. The artifacts discovered by a walking survey include quartzite flakes, cores, and points with some edge abrasion and varnish, including the first Levallois-Mousterian points found in this region of Africa. Since the archaeology of this area is poorly known, these cultural assemblages enable initial correlations across the continent, and provide a basis for reconstructing provenience, procurement and tool manufacture during the Middle Pleistocene, the time frame marked by the first appearance and the dispersal of the modern human species <em>Homo sapiens</em>.</p> <p>To assess the potential source areas for lithic raw materials in this region, pebble counting methods and compositional assessment were conducted on the artifacts and Quaternary alluvium (Qal) of the relict river terrace at Cafema. Based on the composition of the artifacts found on the surface, siliceous rock was an important resource for lithic manufacture during the MSA; this is reflected in the observation that quartzite was overwhelmingly the dominant material used in the stone tool manufacture. Quartzite is generally known to be a preferred material for making tools of consistent size, ease of knapping, quality of form-shape, and persistence of edge retention.</p> <p>To define regional procurement areas where <em>hominin</em> may have acquired quartzite raw materials at local (0-5 km), regional (6-20 km) and supra-regional (21-100 km) scales, we examined the geological outcrops in the region to identify potential sources. Due to its remoteness, the geology of this region of southern Africa is not well known, and the available maps are only available at coarse scales of resolution. Geologic outcrops along the Cunene River include some of the world’s oldest rocks dating to the Vaalian ~1760 Ma, and comprise part of a Large Igneous Province (LIP) that stretches across the African continent. The local bedrock outcrops near Cafema include a medium-to-high grade metamorphic complex, granitoids, and surrounding country rock -- these rocks comprise the rugged mountainous terrain incised by the Cunene River.</p> <p>Since quartzite is the dominant clast type occurring as raw material in the river terrace where the MSA artifacts themselves were found, we can conclude that river terrace materials (Qal) themselves were among the likely raw material sources exploited during antiquity. Rounded quartzite boulders and cobbles are present as surface lag, along with the artifacts in the Qal within the relict river terrace at the <em>plein air</em> site. The river terrace itself is the closest source to the observed artifacts.&nbsp; If the raw material source was alluvial (i.e., within the Qal unit), quartzite river cobbles may have been derived from outcrops located further upstream the Cunene system, which is a large river network that drains a diversity of geologic units. Although it is not possible to identify the precise formation and procurement area of origin, we offer some relative assessments about likely source areas within the region, based on the geology. The specific geologic units that may have contributed quartzite clasts to the Qal river terrace include the (1) Damara Sequence (Nda); and (2) lithologies within the undifferentiated Mokolian unit, which are not well mapped in detail. The closest potential primary sources of quartzite raw materials in Nda rock outcrops (i.e., not alluvium within the Qal terrace at the site) are located within 2 km of the Cafema site. However, confirmed source locales in the past could not be specifically identified in the field.</p> <p>The hypothesis offered is that the Qal alluvial components within the relict terrace of the Cunene River was a preferred source for quartzite lithic raw materials used by mobile hunter-gatherers to make tools during the MSA, sometime after ~225 kya. Cafema is the first MSA site in northern Namibia that is in direct stratigraphic context with a securely dated unit. A replicate OSL-SAR date ~220 kyr has provided initial age constraints on a sandy unit preserved within the cobble-boulder Qal terrace fill, and constrains the maximum age for the overlying archaeological assemblage. These findings advance the reconstruction of this cultural landscape through a geoarchaeological lens, and form a basis for understanding the relict Pleistocene landscape and environment, its plant resources, and proximity to raw material sources within the riparian corridor of the perennial Cunene River.&nbsp;</p> Kathleen Nicoll ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Southern and southeastern boundaries: A geometric morphometric analysis of bifacial points from Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Paraná, and Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) [Fronteiras sul e sudeste: Uma análise morfométrica de pontas bifaciais de Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Paraná e Rio Grande do Sul (Brasil)] <p><span><span lang="en-US">Style and function in archaeological or ethnographic artifacts have been studied by a myriad of researchers through the most diverse theoretical approaches. In this context, the study of projectile points has been particularly useful in generating a greater knowledge of these artifacts as markers of identity, reflecting potential boundaries between groups. This work aims at exploring the differences in the morphology of Holocene bifacial points from Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul in light of the concepts of style and function set out by evolutionary archaeology. In this study, 248 points were analyzed by two dimensional geometric morphometrics. Although the analysis involves geometric morphometrics data of the complete point, the shape of the stem was considered to be of particular importance. According to the theoretical expectations and the heuristic models of style and function proposed by Dunnell (1978a), differences in the shape of the stem of the points can be considered a stylistic resource whose aspect and differential replication among groups was most likely due to stochastic processes. Thus, the theoretical expectation in this study is that the shape of the stem reflects the choices of the groups and, ultimately, is a reflection of potential ancient cultural boundaries. The results point to the presence of important differences in the size and general shape of the points from Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Paraná in relation to the points from Rio Grande do Sul. These differences can also be observed in the stem morphology, showing the benefit of the application of the heuristic dichotomy between style and function (</span><span lang="en-US"><em>sensu</em></span><span lang="en-US"> Dunnell 1978a) to better understand the presence of potential past cultural boundaries.</span></span></p> Mercedes Okumura, Astolfo G. M. Araujo ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 19 Feb 2018 11:54:04 +0000 Resenha de livro: Introdução ao Estudo da Pedra Lascada [Book review: Introduction to the study of knapped stone] <p>De acordo com os organizadores do livro, as universidades de Portugal usufruem muito de manuais de análise de vestígios líticos escritos em língua estrangeira. Isto se justifica pela falta destes manuais em língua portuguesa, e este livro se apresenta com a pretensão de preencher esta lacuna. O livro é dividido em duas partes. A primeira parte trata de “metodologias”, e possui quatro capítulos; enquanto a segunda parte trata da “perspectiva diacrônica”, e possui três capítulos que realizam um apanhado geral das indústrias líticas Europeias.</p> João Carlos Moreno de Sousa ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 19 Feb 2018 11:54:04 +0000 Book review: Tecnologia Lítica na Arqueologia Brasileira. Coletânea de (re)publicações <p><strong>Tecnologia lítica na arqueologia brasileira. Coletânea de (re)publicações</strong></p> <p>Organizado por Luydy Fernandes e Déborah Duarte-Talim</p> <p>Museu de História Natural e Jardim Botânico, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 2017, pp. 237. ISBN 978-85-62164-11-8</p> Juliana de Resende Machado ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000