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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 125–140 | Cite as

Flakes Crossing the Straits? Entame Flakes and Northern Africa–Iberia Contact During the Acheulean

  • Gonen SharonEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

The entame core method was defined after studying the Acheulean bifaces from the site of Ternifine, Algeria. This specialized core method for the production of larges flakes (>10 cm) used for biface blanks involves the detachment of primary large flakes from skillfully selected quartzite cobbles. While technologically simple, a competent selection of raw material and dexterous detachment of the flake resulted in a blank perfectly suitable for the production of bifaces, with minimal further shaping required. This core method resulted in high frequencies of entame blanks in the Ternifine lithic assemblages, as well as from the Iberian Peninsula Acheulean, but not in assemblages from other large flake Acheulean sites. It is suggested that the frequent use of the entame core method common to both North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula indicates similarity in lithic tradition during the Acheulean. This may support the view of North African origin for the Iberian Acheulean during the Middle Pleistocene.

Keywords

Acheulean core technology Acheulean bifaces North Africa Iberia Large flakes Entame core method Entame blanks Ternifine Algeria 

Résumé

La méthode de débitage par entame a été définie lors de l'étude des bifaces acheuléens du site de Ternifine en Algérie. Cette méthode, spécialisée dans la production de grands éclats (>10cm) utilisés comme supports de bifaces implique le détachement d'éclats primaires sur des galets en quartzite soigneusement sélectionnés. La méthode est simple et c'est la sélection rigoureuse du bloc et le soin apporté au détachement de l'éclat qui permet d'obtenir un support parfaitement adapté à la production de bifaces, requérant de ce fait un façonnage minimal. L'emploi de cette méthode est révélé par la forte fréquence de supports d'entame dans les assemblages lithiques acheuléens de Ternifine et de la Péninsule Ibérique. Ces derniers sont en revanche absents des autres sites acheuléens spécialisés dans la production de grands éclats. Il est ici proposé que l'usage fréquent de la méthode par entame, commun à l'Afrique du Nord et à la Péninsule Ibérique, reflète des traditions lithiques communes entre ces deux espaces. Cela pourrait soutenir l'idée que l'Acheuléen ibérique trouve son origine en Afrique du Nord, au Pléistocène moyen.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study of the Ternifine bifacial tools was supported by the Nahmias Foundation of the Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I would like to thank A. Klein, S. Lerech, and S. Gorodetsky for English editing and comments, and G. Le Dosseur for translation of the abstract into French.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tel Hai Academic CollegeUpper GalileeIsrael
  2. 2.Institute of ArchaeologyThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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