A Levallois Point Embedded in the Vertebra of a Wild Ass (Equus Africanus): Hafting, Projectiles and Mousterian Hunting Weapons

By Boeda, Eric; Geneste, J. M. et al. | Antiquity, June 1999 | Go to article overview

A Levallois Point Embedded in the Vertebra of a Wild Ass (Equus Africanus): Hafting, Projectiles and Mousterian Hunting Weapons


Boeda, Eric, Geneste, J. M., Griggo, C., Mercier, N., Muhesen, S., Reyss, J. L., Taha, A., Valladas, H., Antiquity


The El Kowm basin of Central Syria lies between Palmyra and the Euphrates River [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED]. It is a valley 25 km wide and 80 km long, dominated to the East by the Jabal Bishri (rising to 850 m) and to the South by the Jabal Minshar (879 m) and the Jabal Mqaibara (1110 m). Running down the centre of this natural basin is an elongated plateau, the Qdeir, which was carved out by quaternary erosion. During surveys in 1978, directed by Fujimoto (1979) and Cauvin (Cauvin et al. 1979) as part of the El Kowm research expedition, numerous sites were discovered in the backdirt of several ancient wells situated on the periphery of this plateau, or on the surfaces of many tells.

One Middle Palaeolithic site, Umm el Tlel [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED], has been the subject of detailed research. This is an open-air site located on the northern slope of the Qdeir plateau (Boeda & Muhesen 1993; Molist et al. 1987-88). Previous studies have demonstrated its significant archaeological potential, including a continuous stratigraphic sequence from the Acheulean to the Neolithic. Excavations of the Palaeolithic sequence (Boeda & Muhesen 1993), carried out from 1991 to 1998, have resulted in the recognition of 89 layers extending over 6 m in depth: 29 levels are attributed to the Upper Palaeolithic (Levantine Aurignacian and undetermined); 3 to an intermediate Palaeolithic (possibly Ahmarian and transitional phases), and 57 to the Middle Palaeolithic. One of these Middle Palaeolithic levels, IV 3b'1, has yielded a mesial fragment of a Levallois point embedded in the 3rd cervical vertebra of a wild ass (Equus african us) [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 2A, B, C & 3 OMITTED].

The tool industry of this level has been assigned to the Mousterian. Preliminary thermoluminescence (Mercier et al. 1995) measurements yield an age in excess of 50,000 years for this industry. This level, which is rich in osseous material (12,000 objects), belongs to the sedimentary group VI3, corresponding to a lacustrian sedimentation (M.A. Courty pers. comm.). The entire assemblage of lithic and osseous material is remarkably well preserved.

Analysis of the lithic point fragment

The artefact in question is a mesial fragment of a triangular shaped flake classified as a Levallois point [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 4 OMITTED]. It is 1.4 cm long and has a trapezoidal morphology. The two extremities of this fragment exhibit scars that indicate simple, bending (flexion) fractures. The distal break is 1-85 cm wide and 4.6 mm thick. The proximal break is 2.5 cm wide and 6 mm thick. This fragment corresponds to the mesial part of a Levallois point.

The Levallois point is characteristic of the Levantine Mousterian (Meignen & Bar Yosef 1992). This tool type is particularly well represented in the archaeological level VI 3b'1, where it appears to have been one of the most desired products of the flintknappers. It is obtained by the recurrent, bipolar Levallois debitage method (Boeda 1994; 1995), which allows for the production of a great number of Levallois points with very diverse morphological, technical and metric characteristics. This diversity of Levallois points is specific to this archaeological level. In other Mousterian levels at Umm el Tlel the technical characteristics of Levallois points are more standardized, and they are thus much more similar to each other.

This disparity, from one archaeological level to another, in the treatment of objects of the same morphological type, can be attributed to different functional intentions. Indeed, the morpho-technical diversity of Levallois points from level VI 3b'1 is due to the fact that this type of object can be associated with several different functions, as well as manners and contexts of function (fonctionnement). The first microwear analysis results obtained by H. Plisson (CNRS) attest to a cutting function associated with various materials. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Levallois Point Embedded in the Vertebra of a Wild Ass (Equus Africanus): Hafting, Projectiles and Mousterian Hunting Weapons
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.