Microflint in archaeological sediments from Boker Tachtit, Israel: A new method for quantifying concentrations of small flint fragments

Zane Stepka, Omry Barzilai, Steve Weiner, Elisabetta Boaretto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Flint is one of the most common rock types used for producing stone tools. During flint knapping huge amounts of microscopic sized flint particles are produced. Thus the presence of high concentrations of microflint in a sedimentary layer, could be a good indication that flint was knapped at that location. We have developed and tested a method for quantification of microflint concentrations in sediments. The method involves concentrating the microflints in specific density fractions, and then counting a representative proportion of the flint fragments using a polarized light microscope. We show that the method successfully identifies a knapping layer in an Initial Upper Palaeolithic level at the site of Boker Tachtit, Israel. This level also contains macroscopic flint debitage, including refitted artifacts. Microflint quantification can aid in identifying knapping areas and be useful for better understanding site formation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-64
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume91
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Funding

Fieldwork at Boker Tachtit and its surroundings was conducted within the framework of the Max Planck - Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology. We thank Dr Mae Goder-Goldberger and Prof Gilbert Tostevin for their contributions with materials and comments. The experimental flint knapping was carried out by Dr Omry Barzilai. Financial support was obtained from the Max Planck - Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, as well as the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science and the Exilarch Foundation for the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometer. S.W. holds the Dr Walter and Dr Trude Borchardt Professorial Chair in Structural Biology. E.B. holds the David and Judith Dangoor Professorial Chair for Archaeological Science.

FundersFunder number
Exilarch Foundation for the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometer
Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science
Max Planck

    Keywords

    • Boker Tachtit
    • Debitage
    • Flint knapping
    • Microdebitage
    • Microflint concentration

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