THE LEVALLOIS AS A TOOL
A technological analysis of stone knapping process gives rise to a revision of the traditional in archaeology thesis by F. Bordes: "The Levallois is a technology; the Mousterian is a culture "."The phenomenon of Levallois" is interpreted in this article as a sacral, nonutilitarian process, which stands out among various technologies employed in the Middle Palaeolithic. The Levallois can be considered a phenomenon that marks the beginning of a new stage in our history, when a sacred status was attributed to an act rather than to an object. The artefacts found suggest the subject of the activity was no longer an ape, but a human.
Why all Mousterian cultures succeed the Levallois seems clear? One can try to obtain several similar blanks instead of a single “tortoise” Levallois flake. In other words, it is possible to produce a desired number of alike blanks for making tools instead of or after performing a “tortoise” knapping. This approach is both logical and natural. Such a process, however, is not “the Levallois”.
Giving rise to a utilitarian technology of the Mousterian, the Levallois remained independent of the latter. “The Levallois” refers to the process of obtaining a single, “tortoise” flake, which was expected in a specific act of knapping. All other manipulations aimed at producing series of “sub-oval”, “multi-plate”, etc. flakes are procedures within the framework of various Mousterian cultures.
Keywords: archaeology, the Levallois, technology, use-wear.
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