Mostly convergent


mostly convergent

This as small part of a “Ferrassie” Ensemble from the Gargano-S. Italy, dating to OIS5-3.

Neanderthal populations are known to have used convergent tools and diversified types have been described, such as points and convergent scrapers. The proportions of these tools vary according to the site. The frequencies of these tool classes have been used to define different types (facies) of Mousterian assemblages, but little information exists to address the question of whether they are primarily a product of different cultural practices or, alternatively, are activity-related.

Most flaking methods in Europe between MIS 9–3 produce various triangular blanks for convergent tool making  or show a standardized production of real points (for example in a Levallois debitage), and this probably explains their high variability, both in shape and/or function. Theoretical approaches to the reduction sequence and the relationship between points and scrapers have been proposed but do not necessarily apply to every series.

Micro-Traceological analyses suggest that convergent tools have been used as multifunctional scrapers but some of these convergent tools most were probably mounted on spear shafts and used as weapons.Experimental and ethnoarchaeological studies also suggest that any type of convergent tools ( “Points”, dejete scraper, convergent scraper) can be employed for various tasks. These studies demonstrate that convergent tools need not have a perfect triangular morphology and specific morphological characteristics to be used as a specific tool. In Europe since MIS 8–7 any flakes with minor modification were potentially usable as tools with two retouched convergent edges for various tasks but rarely used for its pointed shape (except for piercing and sometimes as projectiles-most probably on spears) according to functional analysis.

In this respect, the Neronian level (ca 50 k.a.) of Grotte Mandrin appears as an anomaly in the Mousterian record of W-Europe, both from a technical and a functional perspective. The level is characterized by an enormous sample of almost microlithic Levallois points. I personally know only a limited set of sites with similar ensembles (Mt. Camel; Israel and the “Micro-Mousterian” at Yabrud; Syria).

At Mandrin in 80% of these small Levallois points, the thickness varies by less than 3 mm, with a thickness of between 2 and 5 mm, and with a width of between 16 and 25 mm for 60% of them. An impactological study of the Mandrin E points reveals that at least 15.5% of them were used as weapons, maybe indicative of an early Neanderthal bow and arrow technology.

Suggested Reading:

Scraper from La Ferrassie Rockshelter

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