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Quantifying cereal-reaping microwear on flint tools : an experimental approach

Abstract : From the earliest Neolithic in the Near East to the last Chalcolithic cultures in Western Europe, certain flint tools have been used as sickles to harvest cereals. Such harvesting tools can be identified through use-wear analyses, because cutting herbaceous plants produces specific wear-traces on the working edge of flint blades. The aim of this work is to explore harvesting-driven microwear variability and, more particularly, intensity of use as a governing factor. To achieve this objective, an experiment was designed consisting in the production of flint replicas to be used as harvesting tools, in various controlled conditions. A simple, cost-effective method of quantifying wear-traces by meas uring polish extent is developed, requiring only classical use-wear observation equipment. Polish extent shows monotonic correlation with the amount of work, expressed either in terms of time or as the quantity of cereals harvested. Polish extent measurement is therefore proposed as a reliable and powerful descriptor of use intensity.Peer reviewe
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Contributor : Sophie Desbois-Garcia <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 9, 2016 - 3:36:42 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, December 19, 2020 - 10:18:01 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01413259, version 1



Jimmy Linton, Fabrice Monna, Claude Sestier, Rémi Martineau. Quantifying cereal-reaping microwear on flint tools : an experimental approach. Archaeometry, Wiley, 2016, 58 (6), pp.1038 - 1046. ⟨halshs-01413259⟩



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