Wednesday 19 October 2011

I Know This Isn't Fair. Time for a Reality Check.

I owe a big thanks to archaeologist Anja Roth Niemi, Department of Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Tromsö, whom I've never met, but on whose web page I found these lovely illustrations of 8,000 year old blade cores and blades from Norway (after less than a minute searching Google Images). 
     I know it's not really fair to compare these objects made by people like you and me with finds such as those from Qesem Cave (see previous post). But since this is at heart a discipline that relies on comparison and analogy for its inferences, I thought the SA readers deserved to see what real blade technology looks like.

In the arrangement above, have a look at the plan view of the deliberately and beautifully prepared platforms that are used to remove blade after blade with unmistakably blade-like proportions and characteristics (unlike those from Qesem Cave). These cores are designed to be used all around the circumference. Look at the flake scars--repetitive, parallel-sided, top-to-bottom in a single stroke. Moreover, not a sign of cortex. This is what 'systematic blade production' really looks like! And these are (almost certainly) NOT just the best specimens, chosen to showcase what the archaeologist thinks demonstrates the makers' maximal skill. (Click on the picture below to enlarge.)

Like I said already. This isn't fair to Shimelmitz, Barkai and Gopher. But it is does have the advantage of being real.

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