- Levallois technique
The Levallois technique is a name given by
archaeologists to a distinctive type of flint knapping developed by humans during the Palaeolithicperiod.
It is named after nineteenth century finds of flint tools in the
Levallois-Perretcoord|48|53|40|N|2|17|18|E| suburb of Parisin France. The technique was more sophisticated than earlier methods of lithic reduction, involving the striking of flakes from a prepared core. A striking platformis formed at one end and then the core's edges are trimmed by flaking off pieces around the outline of the intended flake. This creates a domed shape on the side of the core, known as a tortoise core as the various scars and rounded form are reminiscent of a tortoise's shell. When the striking platform is finally hit, a flake separates from the core with a distinctive profile and with all of its edges sharpened by the earlier trimming work.
This method provides much greater control over the size and shape of the final flake which would then be employed as a
scraperor knife although the technique could also be adapted to produce projectile points known as Levallois points.
The technique is first found in the
Lower Palaeolithicbut is most commonly associated with the Neanderthal Mousterianindustries of the Middle Palaeolithic. In the Levant, Levallois methods were also in use in the Upper Palaeolithicand later.
The distinctive forms of the flakes were originally thought to indicate a wide ranging Levallois culture but the wide geographical and temporal spread of the technique has rendered this interpretation obsolete.
* [http://www.hf.uio.no/iakk/roger/lithic/LEV/Lev.html Illustrated demonstration of the Levallois technique] (note that, contrary to what is shown on this page, the soft hammer technique was never used for Levallois flaking)
* [http://id-archserve.ucsb.edu/Anth3/Courseware/LithicTech/Movies/Levallois_Point.html Animated Levallois flint working]
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