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Thursday, 21 August 2014, 19:08 (07:08 PM) CDT, day 233 of 2014

Prehistoric Cultures

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Friday, 22 August 2014, 00:08 (12:08 AM) GMT, day 234 of 2014
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Clovis point

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Blades and Pressure Flaking

20 min., 1968, VC 2841

     


Terms / Concepts Notes
Cultures Sites Individuals Bibliography
/ Resources
Film Reviews Related
UMD Videos
 
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"François Bordes demonstrates how stone blades were probably made by direct percussion and by the punch technique; Don Crabtree demonstrates various methods of manufacturing tools by pressure flaking techniques. [The film] explains chronological implications of various implements."

"Francois Bordes, Director of the Laboratory of Prehistory, University of Bordeax, demonstrated how stone blades were probably made by direct percussion and by the punch technique, and Don Crabtree, an expert in lithic technology, demonstrates various methods of manufacturing tools by pressure flaking techniques. Chronological implications of various techniques are explained. Pressure flaking techniques were probably invented as a method of retouching and refining tools formed by percussion flaking; this improvement enabled man to develop delicate and elaborate tools and greatly increased his efficiency not only as a hunter but later as an agriculturist and artisan. From stone blades, Prof. Bordes fashions Upper Paleolithic tools such as burins, awls, scrapers, and knives. Mesolithic techniques of fabricating microburins, used to make sophisticated hafted tools are shown. He also illustrates the working of Solutrean bifacial foliate points by direct percussion, indicating that laurel leaf points were probably made by percussion flaking, not by pressure flaking as was formerly thought. Prof. Bordes demonstrated the initial percussion shaping of a tool which Don Crabtree then completes by means of pressure flaking. Mr. Crabtree also shows in detail the fluting of Folsom points and the elegant Valley of Mexico blade technique. Methods of working with flint and obsidian are illustrated, and the uses of many tools are described as their production is shown. In a dramatic conclusion, the film demonstrates that the Valley of Mexico blade made from obsidian had the sharpest cutting edge man had ever been able to devise. The film is intended for general use at the high school, college, and adult levels in the study of physical and cultural anthropology, archaeology, and arts and crafts." -- UC

 

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Terms / Concepts
  • blade -- "A special type of flake often defined as being twice as long as it is broad."

  • Jurgensen Thomsen, 1807

    • "Iron Age"

    • "Bronze Age"

    • "Stone Age"

      • The "Stone Age" was eventually subdivided into:

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  • basic stone tool making techniques (lithics)

    • "stone on stone" percussion flaking (direct percussion)

    • "baton technique"

    • pressure flaking

  • ways of making blades

    • Levallois technique

    • punch blade technique ("punch technique")

    • micro-burin technique -- one way of making a microlith

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  • other stone tool making terms (lithics)

    • the "cone principle"

    • flake (chip)

    • core (what's left when you take chips off)

    • microliths

    • retouching

      • "secondary flaking" (secondary trimming), one type of retouching

    • collateral (parallel) flaking

    • striking platform

    • dorsal side

    • facet (face)

    • compound (composite) tools

    • fluting

    • hafting

    • serrating

      • having a "saw-like edge"

    • scar patterns

    • truncation

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  • tool types

    • end scraper -- made by unifacial retouching of a blade

    • side scraper

    • backed blade (knives) -- blunting of one edge of a blade (the "indirect anvil" technique is used in the video)

    • notched point

    • laural leaf point

      • Solutrean (France)
      • used as spearpoints or dart points or as knives
      • or as art or ritual objects ?
      • or to show off ?

    • burin = French for "engraving tool"

    • boring tool ("perforator"; "piercer"; "awl")

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Notes

  • Materials used: flint, chert, quartz, obsidian

    • in Europe the basic material is flint

    • Obsidian = the sharpest cutting edge ever made by humans

  • Development of tools allowed humans to improve as hunters . . .

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Cultures / Peoples

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Sites
  • Dordogne Region (France)

Individuals

Publications / Bibliography

  • Bordes, François. 1970. The Old Stone Age. NY: McGraw Hill.
  • Clark, Grahame. 1970. The Stone Age Hunters. NY: McGraw Hill.
  • Wilmensen, Edwin N. 1970. American Anthropologist 72:970.

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Film Reviews

UMD Videos

  • "Flint knapping: a father and son team are rediscovering the art of making tools from stone," Venture North, UMD videotape, VC 2942, 30 min.

  • Flintknapping, UMD videotape, VC 1869, 45 min.
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