Pressure Blade Production with a Lever in the Early and Late Neolithic of the Near East

  • Ciler Altınbilek-Algül
  • Laurence Astruc
  • Didier Binder
  • Jacques Pelegrin
Chapter

Abstract

Pressure knapping for the detachment of obsidian and flint blade(let)s has been in use in the Tigris and Euphrates High Valleys and on the Anatolian plateau since the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (EPPNB), during the middle of the ninth millennium cal B.C. In the High Valleys, the methods associated with the pressure technique evolved significantly during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, leading to more regularized and standardized products. In this context, the appearance of large obsidian blades produced by pressure with the use of a lever could be interpreted as the result of technological experimentation and innovation for the purpose of producing exchange items of high social value. This hypothesis is also valid for the Balikh Valley in Sabi Abyad I; however, the chronological, technological, and social contexts of introduction are different: pressure blades were used in the Balikh Valley from the end of the Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (MPPNB), but they were made exclusively of obsidian, and production methods remained unchanged over time. This chapter presents the first evidence for the early production of large obsidian blades using the pressure technique with a lever in Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (LPPNB) contexts from the site of Çayönü Tepesi, dating to the second half of the eighth millennium cal B.C., at the beginning of the Pottery Neolithic (PN), and from the site of Sabi Abyad I, dating to the seventh millennium cal B.C.

Keywords

Immobilization Turkey Excavation Trench Stratigraphy 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The first technological study of the Çayönü Tepesi assemblage, including the initial recognition of the lever technique was conducted by D. Binder during a collaboration between the ‘Mission de Préhistoire Anatolienne’ (Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes, Direction générale de la Coopération internationale et du Développement) and the Department of Prehistory at the University of Istanbul in 2004. Further documentation and study were made by C. Altınbilek-Algül with the collaboration of L. Astruc. Drawings are by M. Grenet, C. Altınbilek-Algül, and L. Astruc. We are grateful to I. Caneva and the members of the Çayönü Tepesi team for their support and help. The analysis of the Sabi Abyad lithic assemblage was conducted by L. Astruc with the constant support of P.M.M.G. Akkermans, the Leiden University and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden of Leiden and the team ‘Du village à l’Etat au Proche- et Moyen-Orient’, ArScAn-UMR7041 du CNRS, Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie. Drawings are by L. Astruc. J. Pelegrin is responsible for the technical descriptions and interpretations of the large blades. We are grateful to G. Monthel (Préhistoire et Technologie, UMR 7055, Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie) for his work on the preparation of the oral presentation for the Lisbon Symposium. A complement to the corpus of drawings from the Çayönü Tepesi assemblage and the rework of all the drawings for this publication by M. Grenet were undertaken as part of the programme ANR-08-BLAN-0318-01 ‘ObsidiennesUs: Obsidiennes, Pratiques techniques et Usages en Anatolie’ held by CNRS-IFEA in collaboration with the Department of Prehistory at the University of Istanbul and the Ecole Centrale de Lyon.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ciler Altınbilek-Algül
    • 1
  • Laurence Astruc
    • 2
  • Didier Binder
    • 3
  • Jacques Pelegrin
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PrehistoryUniversity of IstanbulIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Du vilage à l’Etat au Proche et Moyen-OrientUniversité Paris Ouest Nanterre, Université Paris I, UMR 7041ArScanFrance
  3. 3.Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CNRS, UMR 6130, CEPAMNiceFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire “Préhistoire et Technologie”CNRS et Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, MAENanterreFrance

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