Axis 1 – Appearance and diffusion of “debitage by extraction”

This debitage procedure consists of selectively extracting a defined portion from a piece of raw material in order to obtain blanks with standardized forms and dimensions, which in turn facilitate the manufacturing of standardized tools. It is a major conceptual invention in the working of osseous materials.

This debitage procedure consists of selectively extracting a defined portion from a piece of raw material in order to obtain blanks with standardized forms and dimensions, which in turn facilitate the manufacturing of standardized tools. It is a major conceptual invention in the working of osseous materials.

This capacity to produce series of identical blanks and then finished objects lead to the standardized mass productions that characterize the evolution of some categories of objects, such as projectile points.

This debitage procedure appears globally during the first half of the Upper Paleolithic, being present in the Early Gravettian of western Europe (Goutas 2004), and perhaps earlier in Eastern Europe). It was then further developed during the second half of the Upper Paleolithic and endured until the Metal Ages (and even until the present).

Meanwhile, the practical means of employing this method and the technical procedures used varied during this long chronological period. It is precisely these aspects and the appearance of this invention that can be explored by a collective research program covering a broad chrono-cultural and geographic scale, enabling us to address the movements of populations and ideas between western, central and eastern Europe.

At present, this invention is still poorly known and only a few instances of it have been described in terms of technical and economic parameters (perhaps 5 or 6, only in the Upper Paleolithic of western Europe).

The objective of the members of the GDRE PREHISTOS is therefore to look for cases of "debitage by extraction" on the European continent from the Paleolithic to the First Iron Age. We will thus be able to fill the gaps in our knowledge by first describing each case in technical and economic terms (debitage analysis grid) and by identifying new variants of this method. We will then attempt to identify the zones and the periods of presence and absence of this debitage method and study the practical and economic similarities that may exist in these cases. The final objective will be to retrace the history of this invention during Prehistory in Europe (appearance, borrowing, diffusion, adaptation, abandon) and to identify potential links with bevels in hafting systems.



References cited

AVERBOUH A. (2000) – Technologie de la matière osseuse travaillée et implications palethnologiques : l’exemple des chaînes d’exploitation du bois de Cervidé chez les Magdaléniens des Pyrénées, thèse de doctorat de Préhistoire, université de Paris I, 2 vol., 253 et 247 p.

GOUTAS N. (2004) – Caractérisation et évolution du Gravettien en France par l’approche techno-économique des industries en matières dures animales (étude de six gisements du Sud-Ouest), doctorat de préhistoire de l’université de Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2 vol., 680 p.

GOUTAS N. (2009) – Réflexions sur une innovation technique gravettienne importante : le double rainurage longitudinal, Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 2009, tome 106, no 3, p. 437-456