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. Two burin spalls were struck down the edges of this blade. The negative scar for one of the burin spalls was used as the platform for removing the opposite burin spall. This is referred to as a ‘dihedral’ burin.
The artefact is curated in the North Carolina Archaeological Collection, Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, catalog no. 531a2.
The Rock of Solutré is a limestone escarpment in eastern France. Excavations at the base of the escarpment from the 1860s recovered prolific evidence for occupation during the Upper Palaeolithic, and this became the type site for the Solutrean.
This burin is part of a collection of Paleolithic artifacts that was acquired in 1929 by James Bell Bullitt during a tour of western Europe and later donated to the University of North Carolina. During his tour, Bullitt visited the famous palaeolithic archaeologist Henri Breuil, who likely facilitated the purchase of this artefact. It was excavated from the Rock of Solutré during the early work there, and the stratigraphic context of the artefact is unknown.