A microburin is a characteristic waste product from manufacture of lithic tools, sometimes confused with an authentic burin, which is characteristic of the Mesolithic, but which has been recorded from the end of the Upper Paleolithic until the Calcolithic. This type of lithic artifact was first named by Henri Breuil who defined it as «a type of angular, smooth, with a terminal retouch in the form of a small notch». Breuil initially thought that the microburins had a functional use as a type of microlithic burin. However, he later came to realize that the manufacturing technique was different from that of the burin and that they could be waste products from the manufacture of microliths, but the may have occasionally been reused for a useful purpose.
A microburin is a fragment of a lithic flake, or more precisely, of a lithic blade, that shows on its upper face the beginnings of a notch terminating in an oblique flection (whose surface can only be seen from the lower side) that ends in a very acute trihedral apex. As stated earlier, it was thought that microburins were functional microliths, but carving experiments, along with the reassembly of pieces with perfectly aligned edges have demonstrated that they were a characteristic waste of a technique called microburin technique, or more correctly microburin blow technique. Following a study of thousands of microburins originating from a variety of saharan sites Jacques Tixier noted that none of the pieces showed traces of intentional use, this finding confirms the finding of the analysis of European pieces. Examples found in Europe can be seen on this page : http://www.archeobase.be/page_microburins_meso.html. They are related with Mesolithic hunters of the Walloon region of Belgium ap. 9,000 years ago.
There is also a particular type of microburin named after Krukowski that is from a carving accident and not a waste byproduct.
- Brézillon, Michel (1971). La denomination des objets de Pierre taillée. CNRS, París. IVe supplément à «Callia Préhitoire». (pages 127 y 272)
- Breuil, Henri (1921). "Note sur la communication de E. Cartailhac: observations sur l’hiatus et le néolithique". L’Anthropologie. tome 31 (pages 349-354). page 350.
- Breuil, H. y Zbyszewski, G. (1947). "Revisión des industries mésolithiques de Muge et de magos". Communicaçoes dos serviços geológicos de Portugal. tomo 28 (páginas 149-196). page 169.
- Tixier, Jacques (1963). "Typologie de l’Epipaléolithique du Maghreb". Mémories du centre de recherches anthropologiques, préhistoriques et ethnographiques. Volumen 2 (page 42). Argelia-París, A. M. G.
- Krukowski, Stefan (1914) - Un nouveau rebut du microlithique. Extrait des Comptes Rendus de la Société Scientifique de Varsovie