The use of bipolar percussion to detach Levallois flakes at Howiesons Poort Shelter. Amy Tabrett

publicat: 3 nov. 2015  |  
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  • SESSION 12 - Silcrete as a lithic raw material in a global context: geology, sourcing and techno-economics
    The use of bipolar percussion to detach Levallois flakes at Howiesons Poort Shelter, South Africa

    In the southern African archaeological sequence, the Levallois strategy of core reduction is considered to be a distinctive feature of the Middle Stone Age (MSA), declining towards the end of the MSA when prismatic blade production and bipolar core reduction become dominant. Reanalysis of material recovered from Howiesons Poort Shelter - the eponymous site for the Howiesons Poort phase of the southern African MSA - has revealed that a significant number of the Levallois cores from the site were knapped using bipolar percussion to detach their key products. This paper describes the trends in core reduction processes associated with this Levallois-by-bipolar strategy. By investigating these trends it is possible to reconstruct the stage in the reduction trajectory of the cores when bipolar percussion was introduced. As well as adding to a growing image of the technological and cognitive complexity of Howiesons Poort (and indeed MSA) hominins, these discoveries have important implications for our understanding of both the Levallois reduction strategy and the bipolar percussion method.

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