Blade (archaeology)

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In archaeology a blade is a type of stone tool created by striking a long narrow flake from a stone core.

Blades are defined as being flakes that are at least twice as long as they are wide and that have parallel or subparallel sides and at least two ridges on the dorsal (outer) side. Additionally, a tool must be part of an intentional blade industry in order to properly be considered a blade; tools which show the characteristics of blades through variation but are not intentionally produced with those characteristics are not considered true blades. Blades became the favoured technology of the Upper Palaeolithic era, although they are occasionally found in earlier periods. A soft punch or hammerstone is necessary in creating a blade and their long sharp edges made them useful for a variety of purposes. They were often worked to create scrapers or burins.

Cores from which blades have been struck are called blade cores and the tools created from single blades are called blade tools. Small examples (under 12 mm) are called microblades and were used in the Mesolithic as elements of composite tools. Blades with one edge blunted by removal of tiny flakes are called backed blade.

Blade technology, however, is also able to give researchers an insight of the social aspect of the people who produced it. For example in 2002 an article was published concerning research done in Tehran which is located in central Iran. The researched focused on six late prehistoric sites which coincidentally had a large focus of blade production.[1] The main focus of the paper concentrated on the early Chalcolithic and showed that as time passed and the chopper tools were becoming more prominent, stone tools were becoming less aesthetically pleasing.There was a collapse of lithic craft specialization. Where raw material was being sent out and coming back in as blades, people were now producing their own blades at home.[2] The raw materials these tools were made of were also very diverse. With chert making up 92% of the tools, chert was a material that could have been easily locally produced. Other raw materials such as obsidian, however, was not local and needed to be either collected from long distances or traded in order to be obtain.[3]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Butler, C (2005). Prehistoric Flintwork, Tempus, Stroud. ISBN 0-7524-3340-7.
  • Darvill, T (ed.) (2003). Oxford Concise Dictionary of Archaeology, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280005-1.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fazeli, H.; Donahue, R.E; Coningham, R.A.E (2002). "Stone Tool Production, Distribution and use during the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic on the Tehran Plain, Iran". pp. 1–14. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Fazeli, H.; Donahue, R.E; Coningham, R.A.E (2002). "Stone Tool Production, Distribution and use during the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic on the Tehran Plain, Iran". pp. 1–14. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Fazeli, H.; Donahue, R.E; Coningham, R.A.E (2002). "Stone Tool Production, Distribution and use during the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic on the Tehran Plain, Iran". pp. 1–14. Retrieved 27 November 2014.