Axis 2 – Appearance and diffusion of bevels in hafting systems

The creation of a bevel on the object to be hafted ensures a greater cohesion and flexibility between the object and the haft (Cattelain 1995, Pétillon 2006).

This major functional innovation, which also seems to have emerged during the Early Upper Paleolithic, has for the moment been observed on projectile points and armatures.

It is nonetheless still poorly known and information is lacking concerning both the typological and technical features of bevels (location, extent and position of the unifacial or bifacial bevel on the piece, technical realization) and the objects on which they occur, and the relationships that could exist between this hafting system, the animals hunted and the hunting techniques employed (Cattelain 1997, Pétillon and Letourneux 2006). 

The goal of the members of the GDRE is therefore to look for examples of bevels in hafting systems on the European continent from the Paleolithic to the First Iron Age. We will thus first collect the data necessary to describe the typological, technical and functional aspects of each case (bevel analysis grid), and then apply them in projectile experiments. Following this work, we will attempt to identify the zones and the periods of presence and absence of this type of modification 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 between bevels and the debitage by extraction method.

References cited
CATTELAIN P. (1995) – Armatures de projectile en pierre ou en matière dure animale : un choix lié à l’environnement ?, in M. Otte dir., Nature et culture, Actes du colloque de Liège, 13-17 décembre 1993, ERAUL, t. 68, service de Préhistoire, université de Liège, Liège, p. 181-185.

CATTELAIN P. (1997) – Hunting during the Upper Palaeolithic: bow, spearthrower or both?, in H. Knecht dir., Projectile technology, Inter- disciplinary contributions to Archaeology, Plenum press, New York, p. 213-240.

PÉTILLON J.-M. (2006) – Des Magdaléniens en armes. Technologie des armatures de projectile en bois de Cervidé du Magdalénien supé- rieur de la grotte d’Isturitz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), Artefacts, t. 10, CEDARC, 302 p.

PÉTILLON J.-M., LETOURNEUX C. (2006) – Des gibiers, des armes... et des questions. Les pratiques cynégétiques du Magdalénien supérieur à Isturitz (Paléolithique), in I. Sidéra, P. Erikson et E. Villa dir., La chasse, pratiques sociales et symboliques, Actes du 2e colloque de la Maison René Ginouvès, Nanterre, 9-11 juin 2005, p. 14-26.