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The Late Mesolithic of Western Europe: a technological approach of the blade and trapeze industries

Abstract : This paper presents an overview of the knapping techniques of the Second Mesolithic during the 7th and 6th millennium in Western Europe. This period is indeed characterised by the emergence of new armatures-the trapezes-and of new techniques of prismatic blade production that show discontinuation from the preceding technical traditions. Dichotomy can be noted between pressure debitage, seemingly restricted to the Castelnovian groups, and different types of indirect percussion observed in the entire study area (Italy, France, Iberian Peninsula and Belgium). The ANR research program « The last hunter-gatherers of Western Europe » (Allard P. dir.) continues a previous research project led by Thomas Perrin (research grant of the Fyssen foundation). The latter had outlined the trapeze bearing sites and the available radiocarbon dates in the entire western European area. This study evidences a progressive spread of the trapezes from Southern (Mediterranean basin) to Northern Europe over time (Perrin et al. 2009, Perrin et al. this volume). This program is the first stage of a collective study aiming at the identification of the origins and the speed of diffusion of this phenomenon. The aim of the second part is a better understanding of the proper nature of this phenomenon that acts like a package: the new types of armatures seem to be linked to new technical practices and notably to new knapping techniques, percussion by punch and pressure technique. The present paper, which is a preliminary synthesis of this ongoing research program, presents the current state of the data regarding the identified techniques and their distribution within our study area. This analysis is based on the technological approach aiming at characterizing the knapping techniques, including the utilized strategies, the types of production and the techniques of percussion. As the analysis of the entire dataset on the technological approach goes beyond the scope of this paper, we have focused our presentation on a series of diagnostic examples that illustrate the recent results obtained from these industries. Our study area encompasses France, Belgium, the Iberian Peninsula and Italy. Our issue here is based on the hypothesis that the change of armatures is linked to a change of knapping techniques which do not evolve from the previous technical traditions. Thus: 1) Which are these new techniques that appeared to be sufficiently attractive in order to spread rapidly across the entire study area? 2) Did the diffusion of these technical changes fit with the expansion of trapezes across Europe during the 7th and 6th millennium cal BC? 3) Is this a uniform phenomenon? If not, where are the discontinuations located?
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Pierre Allard, Grégor Marchand, Thomas Perrin, Didier Binder, Philippe Crombé, et al.. The Late Mesolithic of Western Europe: a technological approach of the blade and trapeze industries. Meso 2010 - The 8th International Conference on the Mesolithic in Europe, Sep 2010, Santander, Spain. ⟨halshs-01892429⟩



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