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Poster communications

Exploitation of the Plant Environment during the Preceramic Neolithic of Dja’de: preliminary results of the functional study of the glossy blades

Abstract : Around 10 000 B.C. in the near east a long-term process began which would change humanity’s way of lifefrom that of hunter-gatherers to that of farmer-breeders. These changes can be observed in particular on the Dja’de-el-Mughara site (Syria, excavated by Éric Coqueugniot) which yielded a continous stratigraphy from the final PPNA to the beginning of the former PPNB.Functional analysis of its lithic material, glossy blades especially, represents an essential field of research to increase our knowledge of the local cultural traditions and better our understanding of these human groups entering a process of neolithisation. Functional analyses of contemporary glossy blades have already demonstrated their importance to comprehend how neolithic groups used the vegetation during the process of plant domestication. This study was conducted as part of my doctoral research prepared under the joint supervision of Pr. Monchambert (paris-sorbonne university, UMR 8167 east and the mediterranean sea) and Dr. Coqueugniot (UMR 5133 arch.orient). I am currently studying a sample of about fifty flint polished blades. The analysis of use-wear traces combines observations with a low power optical microscope (x40) and with a high-power digital one (x400). A comparative basis for observations is constituted by a set of experimental tools used with plants both present and absent at dja’de. The technological study of the glossy blades revealed the homogeneity of the selected blanks: thin, often with a rectilinear profile with sharp edges. The raw material usually is a very fine-grained, high quality flint. Various types of glossy blades were defined: unilateral or bilateral denticulate blades, denticulate with back and with truncation and denticulate on ogival base obtained by direct or alternate retouch. The on-going use-wear study shows traces of polish characteristic of harvesting siliceous plants. Because those microscopic traces are particularly well developed and preserved, one of the objectives of my research is to characterise types of microwear polish depending on the kind of plant harvested, while correlating this information to the type of used blanks and the type of retouch affecting the used edge. The delineation of the gloss and sometimes the preservation of the adhesive bear witness to the hafting arrangement. Most of the time, the gloss follows a rectilinear delineation, which attests parallel hafting in a straight or curved haft. Some elements present a sharpened base spared by the gloss: the retouch then seems to have facilitated the hafting. The remarkable preservation of the dja’de lithic assemblage gives hope for promising results in the understanding of the exploitation of the vegetation in dja’de. The confrontation of the technological, typological and functional data will eventually allow highlighting the technical choices made by the gatherers on the site.
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Poster communications
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 5:33:16 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 12:39:46 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-03368437, version 1



Fiona Pichon. Exploitation of the Plant Environment during the Preceramic Neolithic of Dja’de: preliminary results of the functional study of the glossy blades. XVIIth international congress of UISPP, Sep 2014, Burgos, Spain. ⟨hal-03368437⟩



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