This flint burin is from Ormen Lange 48, an Early Mesolithic coastal site on the island of Gossa in southwestern Norway, dating to ca. 10,800-11,000 BP.
The blade in this model was unifacially truncated by percussion flaking on each end—perhaps with anvil support—and the edge of the flake scar on one truncated surface was used as the platform to strike the burin spall down the flake’s edge. Burin spalls were struck down both edges at one end of this tool, and down one edge at the opposite end. Multiple burin spalls were struck from all three burin platforms. The prominent ridge down the centre of the burin shows signs of use-wear and/or irregular retouching.
Scale approximate. The artefact is curated by the University Museum, Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, catalogue no. T22752/1676.
Burins are a relatively common tool type in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic stone artefact assemblages in Europe, Western Asia, and Africa. They were usually made by truncating a flake or blade and using the truncated surface as a platform for striking one or more flakes down the flake’s edge. This creates a steep and sturdy edge on the end of the burin scar for engraving organic materials, and the steep lateral edges of the scar are suitably robust and uniform for scraping tasks. The flake detached from a burin is often referred to as a ‘burin spall’, and burin spalls may also have been used as tools.