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Ref ID: 19028
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Belfer-Cohen, Anna
Goring-Morris, Nigel
Title: Why Microliths? Microlithization in the Levant
Date: 2002
Source: Thinking Small: Global Perspectives on Microlithization
Publisher: American Anthropological Association
Abstract: Microlith production in the Levant began with the Upper Paleolithic. Two microlithic production techniques have been observed: straight retouched (Ahmarian) bladelets from a blade bladelet‐oriented reduction sequence; and tiny, twisted “Dufour” (Levantine Aurignacian) bladelets, intentional and/or unintentional byproducts of carination. Twisted bladelets appear in varying frequencies throughout the Upper Paleolithic. The straight variety ultimately dominates and characterizes the fully fledged microlithic Epipaleolithic. A major conceptual change occurs in fashioning microliths during the late Upper Paleolithic/Early Epipaleolithic. Earlier assemblages were produced by a predetermined chaine operatoire and blanks closely parallel the microliths in shape and size. During the Early Epipaleolithic tool shapes increasingly resulted from subsequent blank modification, by invasive retouch and, sometimes, use of the microburin technique. By the late Epipaleolithic almost any small, elongated flake was opportunistically fashioned into a microlith. Explanations for the appearance of microliths include developments in economizing behaviors, hafting practices, projectile‐point propulsion mechanisms, and functional variability. The described changes could be interpreted as declining knapping abilities, yet such developments probably reflect increasing efficiency and flexibility.

Editors: Elston, Robert G.
Kuhn, Steven L.
Volume: 12
Page Start: 57
Page End: 68
Series Editor: Johnson, Jay K.
Series Title: Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association