Type:  Levallois Core

Location: Germany



MoST ID: 858

Pedestal Link: https://une.pedestal3d.com/r/fIbOl_domr

Model Author:  Emma Watt

This flint recurrent centripetal Levallois core is from Germany.  The Levallois method refers to a specific way the core was flaked to create a Levallois flake, which was then used as a tool.  The core likely dates to the Mousterian period of Europe, ca. 40,000-160,000 BP.  It reflects the ‘centripetal’ approach to Levallois reduction, with invasive Levallois flakes struck from around the perimeter of the core in series (‘recurrent’).

This broad, flat Levallois core is very similar to examples from the flint workshop of Markkleeberg, near Leipzig in eastern Germany.  The workshop covers some 45 hectares, with smaller internal concentrations measuring about 3 hectares. The analysed assemblage is classified as a Jungacheuleen industry, from the transition between the preceding Acheulean industry to the subsequent Mousterian, or Micoquien, industry.  If this core is part of a Jungacheuleen assemblage, it may date as early as 300,000-337,000 BP.  This core is classified as centripetal Levallois because the desired flakes were struck from multiple locations around the core’s periphery.  A series of Levallois flakes were struck as the core was rotated, referred to as a ‘recurrent’ pattern.  The removal of each Levallois flake was done in such a way that it enhanced the convexities elsewhere on the core face.

The Levallois reduction method emerged by about 300,000 BP in Africa from the preceding Acheulean, handaxe-focused technologies.  The shift was significant in human evolution, as it marks the emergence of advanced levels of strategic planning in stone-flaking, which in turn implies cognitive capabilities that required enhanced working memory.  These are hallmarks of high-level cognition like that seen in Homo sapiens, although the Levallois method was also applied by Homo neanderthalensis and other Homo species that lived during this period.  In the Levallois method, the core is flaked by hard-hammer percussion to deliberately produce a flake of a specific shape; the flake shape is ‘predetermined’ by the way the core is set up.  Levallois cores are bifacial—flaked on two faces—with one face carefully domed to create the high mass that will be removed in striking off the Levallois flake.  The opposite face is flaked non-invasively to create platforms for striking off the ‘doming’ flakes from the core face.  In this sense, there is a ‘hierarchical’ conception of the core, where one face is only used to prepare platforms, and the opposite face is only used to create the desired Levallois flakes.  In technical parlance, this doming process involved manipulating the ‘convexity’ (the degree of doming) of the core face; lateral convexities are created by flaking along the sides of the core, and distal convexity is created by flaking the end of the core.  Once the domed core face is set up, a platform is carefully prepared at the end of the dome, and the dome is struck off as the Levallois flake.  The core may then be reworked, and another Levallois flake struck off, and so on.  A variety of Levallois approaches have been defined by archaeologists.