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8.2.4 The Assemblage

Debitage

A total of 194 pieces of unmodified debitage was recovered. Most pieces are in flint, but three are in quartz. The category includes four chips, 128 flakes, 25 blades, three microblades, 20 indeterminate pieces and three crested pieces. Eleven pieces with macroscopic use-wear have been included in the debitage group as they have no secondary modification. As demonstrated in Table 40, there are some distinct differences between the composition of the sub-assemblages from the West Range (Trench A) and the Church (Trench H).

There are generally few chips from the excavation, which may be explained by the lack of consistent sieving. All sub-assemblages are dominated by flakes (approximately three-quarters), but the percentages of blades and indeterminate pieces define West Range (Trench A) and the Church trenches as technologically different. West Range (Trench A) only has 5% blades, whereas the Church area has 21% (incl. microblades), and where West Range (Trench A) has 21% indeterminate pieces, the Church area only has 5%. The percentage of indeterminate pieces in West Range (Trench B) (27%) and the percentage of blades in the graveyard trench (18%), suggests that these trenches affiliate with West Range (Trench A) and the church trench, respectively. Only four pieces of debitage were recovered from the 1980-1 excavation (two flakes, one blade and a crested flake), for which reason this sub-assemblage was excluded from Table 40.

The bulbar ends of blanks with preserved proximal ends, or other technologically diagnostic attributes, indicate the application of a number of different reduction techniques on the site. In general terms, both bipolar, hard and soft percussion techniques were used, and a number of blanks could only be identified to 'unspecified platform technique'. Table 41 demonstrates that the two main trenches (West Range Trench A and the Church Trench H) represent significantly different technological approaches, with West Range (Trench A) dominated by more robust techniques (bipolar and hard percussion), whereas a substantial number of blanks from the church area were detached using soft percussion.

In Tables 77-82 (Table 77, Table 78, Table 79, Table 80, Table 81, Table 82) length:width and width:thickness of all intact blades are illustrated, as well as the dimensions (length:width and width:thickness) of all intact flakes from West Range (Trench A) and the Church (Trench H) trenches.

The blades from the site appear in the diagrams (Table 77) and Table 78 as one cluster, indicating that they may all be contemporary. One is from the 1980-1 excavation, two are from the graveyard trench, and the remaining pieces are from the church; apart from two bipolar blades, all blades were detached by the application of soft percussion. The diagrams of flake dimensions (Table 79, Table 80, Table 81, Table 82) indicate considerable differences between the flakes from West Range (Trench A) and the church. In the diagrams of the length and width of flakes, the flakes from the church appear as two clusters of smaller and larger flakes (the clustering does not co-vary with flint types), whereas the flakes from West Range (Trench A) appear as one cluster with the same dimensions as the smaller flakes from the church. In the diagrams of the width and thickness of flakes there is no tendency to clustering, but the flakes from West Range (Trench A) and Church (Trench H) have markedly different dimensions (Table 81, Table 82, Table 83).

It is most likely that these differences are due to different technological approaches and represent the products of people from different prehistoric phases (see Section 8.2.5 and Section 8.2.6).

Only three crested flakes/blades [2028, 100, 379] were found on the site, all of which are unilateral. A unilateral crested flake has had the crest formed by removing small flakes to one side of the crest, whereas a bilateral crested flake has had the crest formed by removing small flakes to either side of the crest (Ballin 1996, 10). Two of the pieces are intact and have the average dimensions 36 x 18 x 9mm. The assemblage contains no platform rejuvenation flakes.

Cores

Twenty-eight cores were recovered during this excavation. The assemblage includes three split or flaked pebbles, six single-platform cores, six irregular cores, 10 bipolar cores, one core fragment, and two core rough-outs. The dimensions (L x W x T) of the cores are measured in the following ways: In the case of platform cores, the length is measured from platform to apex, the width is measured perpendicular to the length with the flaking-front oriented towards the analyst, and the thickness is measured from flaking-front to the often unworked/cortex-covered 'back-side' of the core. In the case of bipolar cores, the length is measured from terminal to terminal, the width is measured perpendicular to the length with one of the two flaking-fronts oriented towards the analyst, and the thickness is measured from flaking-front to flaking-front. More 'cubic' cores, like cores with two platforms at an angle and irregular cores, are simply measured in the following manner: largest dim. by second-largest dim. by smallest dim.

In the case of split or flaked pebbles, the author finds it relevant to distinguish between the two actions: to split and to flake – the former action is associated with the initial stages of hammer-and-anvil (bipolar) production ('quartering' and opening of nodules), whereas the latter is associated with the opening of nodules by free-hand (platform) technique. At the Carmelite Friary one smaller artefact [244], of this category was split along the longitudinal axis, and one larger artefact [210] has had one end struck off (flaked), probably in an attempt to prepare a platform. One [2373] was split in two by a blow to one face and may be a natural piece.

Six single-platform cores (average dimensions: 39 x 32 x 27mm) form a relatively homogeneous group. Their greatest dimension (GD) varies from 47mm to 24mm. Two cores are at early stages of the reduction process, with both having one intact unilateral crest on the main flaking front. From one [197], a flake was detached after which the core was abandoned, and the other [79] was abandoned at an equally early stage after unsuccessful attempts at converting it to bipolar production. Of the remaining four single-platform cores one has a facetted platform [345], whereas the platforms of the other three cores [167, 351, 370] are plain. In all four cases the platform-edges were crudely trimmed, and circular impact scars on the platforms prove that hard percussion was applied. The platform-edge of one object [167] has been so violently 'trimmed' that it is completely crushed. Generally, flakes have been detached along half to almost the entire circumference of the single-platform cores. Two cores from West Range (Trench B) are fire-crazed. No single-platform cores are in black&grey flint; two are in grey flint, and the remaining specimens are in high-quality light brown or light olive-green varieties of flint.

Six irregular cores (average dimensions: 33 x 25 x 20mm) form a highly heterogeneous group. Usually, irregular cores are the totally exhausted remains of platform cores, and as such they tend to acquire an either sub-globular or cubic shape, but five of these cores are so irregular that some of them may be natural products. One object [150] is in grey flint, and it is a classic irregular core with an almost cubic shape, with trimming along two perpendicular platform-edges. The remaining five cores are all in black&grey flint, and they are very simple with relatively fresh cortex. Two [135, 136] have some crushing along one or more edges which may be crude trimming, but three others [247, 257 and 274] could be naturally flaked ballast-flint.

Ten bipolar cores were found at the site. One large piece [269] has had one flake struck off, and heavy crushing at one terminal and two lateral edges indicate that attempts were made at continuing production; however, the nodule was too tough to flake and had to be abandoned. Six bipolar cores [175, 1284, 230, 393] of medium size (average dimensions: 27 x 21 x 10mm) are classic exhausted bipolar cores. One of those [340] is relatively irregular, one [175] is burnt, and three [393, 2363, 2372] has been re-orientated with flake scars on one or both faces running at perpendicular angles to each other. The bipolar cores described above are mainly yellow or orange, but three cores in black&grey flint may be naturally flaked pieces. The black&grey pieces vary in size from GD 64mm to 18mm; the largest one [317] is heavily battered as would be expected from exposure to a high-energy environment. The remaining two [152, 172] have pointed terminals, which is a common characteristic of naturally flaked bipolar cores (Ballin 1999).

One core fragment [87] is the frost-shattered remains of a core of unspecified type. Two core rough-outs [261, 341] are very simple pieces in black&grey flint, one of which [261] has relatively fresh cortex. However, they are not ballast flint or naturally flaked pieces. The latter [261] has had one end struck off to create a plain platform, and from this platform one flake has been detached; a small part of the platform-edge has been trimmed. One of these objects [341] is a flat oval nodule which has been divided in two by a hard blow to one broad side; the narrow end of the resulting platform has been trimmed. It is possible that the 'trimming' of this object [341] is in fact an ad hoc scraper-edge.

Tools

In total, 113 tools were retrieved during the various excavations at the Carmelite Friary. This corresponds to a tool ratio of 34%. This ratio is extremely high and can only be explained by the character of the site (residual artefacts) and retrieval policies (lack of consistent sieving). Usually a sieved assemblage from an undisturbed, unspecialised prehistoric site would have a tool ratio of a few percent. The tool group consists of one microlith, 25 scrapers, 11 borers, three burins, three truncated pieces, five pieces with notch(es), four serrated pieces, 57 pieces with edge-retouch, two combined tools (scraper-borers), one fabricator and one hammerstone (Table 79).

Microliths

A single microlith [2369] was retrieved from the site. It is a small (25 x 9 x 2 mm) scalene triangle which has had its proximal end removed. The proximal end has been modified into an oblique retouch, which is the only deliberate modification of the piece. Both lateral sides have faint use-wear, either from use or from having been slotted into a shaft. Though the object has no surviving microburin facet, the angled delineation of the proximal retouch suggests that this end may have been removed by the application of microburin technique ('notch-and-break'), defining the artefact as a microlith sensu stricto. This piece was produced in yellow flint.

Scrapers

One discoidal scraper [2036] is in black&grey flint. Its scraper-edge is uneven and forms a number of 'nosed' areas, with each protruding area being usable for scraping. The retouch is crude, and the scraper appears heavily used. Eighteen short end-scrapers form a heterogeneous group (average dimensions: 23 x 22 x 9mm) varying in length between 34mm and 14mm. Only two of those are intact classic end-scrapers, with one [92] being almost circular and another [144] being slightly elongated with both lateral sides blunted by retouch. One object [145] is an edge-fragment of a regular end-scraper with a nosed scraper-edge. The remaining 14 end-scrapers all have a distinctly idiosyncratic appearance with scraper-edges of various shapes (straight, convex, pointed, nosed) and formed at whatever end, side or corner was found most suitable. An end-scraper is defined by having a working-edge approximately perpendicular to the longest of the two dimensions L and W (L being the dimension proximal end to distal end), whereas a side-scraper has its edge on the longest of the two dimensions. If L > W (elongated blank) the working-edge of the end-scraper will be distal (sometimes proximal) and the edge of the side-scraper will be lateral. If W > L (broad blank) the working-edge of the end-scraper will be lateral and the edge of the side-scraper will be either proximal or distal. Or in short: the edge of an end-scraper is not necessarily at the distal or proximal end, and the edge of a side-scraper is not necessarily at one of the two lateral sides.

In most cases, the end-scrapers have additional retouch of the sides, which may be either supplementary scraper-edges or blunting.

The most regular end-scrapers are in orange/yellow or grey flint, but six are black&grey. This supports the suggestion put forward in the raw material section regarding this material: even though these end-scrapers [2047, 103, 148, 264, 289, 361] are on the simplest and most irregular blanks and have an ad hoc appearance, they are most certainly artefacts and not naturally flaked specimens. The cortex of two examples [2047 and 148] is fresh and powdery.

The assemblage contains one double-scraper [122]. The blank is a broad flake with a scraper-edge on either short lateral side. The edges are straight to slightly convex, and a distal break has been blunted by simple rubbing. The piece is in black&grey flint with a powdery fresh cortex.

One [123] of the five side-scrapers is large. It is on a medial fragment of a flake, and it has a convex scraper-edge on one lateral side. The remaining four side-scrapers (average dimensions: 25 x 22 x 8mm) are on suitable flakes or flake fragments with a straight to slightly convex scraper-edge on one of the two longest lateral sides or ends. One [259] is a relatively short flake with a distal hinge fracture, whereas three [278, 319 and 358] are longer with supplementary retouch on one of the two shorter sides or ends. The retouch of one [278] is regular and relatively flat. TThis side-scraper [278] is in orange flint, whereas the other four side-scrapers are in either grey or black&grey flint.

Borers

Like the scrapers, the 11 borers have an idiosyncratic appearance (average dimensions: 28 x 24 x 11mm), and basically, no two borers are alike. The borers are all on simple flakes, with the borer tips being manufactured at the most suitable end, side or corner. Two [221 and 321] are relatively broad flakes with the merging lateral retouches forming approximately right-angled borer tips. Two [83 and 302] are relatively thick flakes with borer tips formed by three converging knapping seams or retouches. One [88] is formed as a small rectangle with a borer tip on a protruding corner – the piece is retouched on the entire circumference. One [258] is a small acutely pointed borer with the two lateral sides of the tip having been sporadically retouched whilst another [195] is a small irregular flake with a right-angled borer tip manufactured by retouching two adjacent notches at the proximal end. Three examples [265, 288 and 313] are simple flakes with equally simple borer tips formed at suitable corners; and one [98] is a broken-off borer tip. The retouches are generally normal, but some of the borers have inverse, propellar or alternating retouch.

The orientation of retouch:

  1. Normal retouch: Retouch, initiated from the ventral face (covering the dorsal face).
  2. Inverse retouch: Retouch initiated from the dorsal face (covering the ventral face).
  3. Alternating retouch: Retouch which on the same lateral edge alternates between normal and inverse.
  4. Propellar retouch: Retouch which is normal on one lateral edge and inverse on the other. This retouch variant is usually associated with borers and, to some degree, tanged arrowheads.
  5. Bifacial retouch: Retouch which on the same lateral edge, and the same extent of edge, combines normal and inverse retouch (Adaptation of Inizan et al. (1992, 94) in Ballin (2011).

In the cases of three pieces [83, 288 and 302] the tips are broken off. The borers are mostly in grey or black&grey flint, and the cortex of three [88, 288 and 321] is relatively fresh.

Burins

The assemblage includes three burins, all of which are angle-burins. One [2041] is the remains of a single-platform core which disintegrated due to internal impurities and flaws. Following the disintegration, a broad burin spall was detached from a break, running parallel to the core platform. The edges of this burin spall are heavily worn. One [249] is on an indeterminate piece and has had a burin-edge created at the corner of a break. The dorsal edge of this break has been blunted by simple retouch or rubbing, and the corner of the burin-edge shows distinct use-wear. One [270] is on the distal end of a large flake, and a burin-edge was manufactured by a blow to one corner of the proximal break. Its right lateral side and distal end have been blunted by coarse bifacial retouch (similar to the retouch of a bilateral crested blade). One [249] is in black&grey flint, one [270] is in brown flint, and one [2041] is in orange flint.

Truncated pieces

The three truncated pieces from this site differ considerably. One [2017] is a blade fragment with a curved truncation at the proximal end, some blunting of both lateral sides and the distal end, as well as heavy use-wear of the right lateral edge. One [102] is a regular microblade with an oblique distal truncation, and one [118] is the medial fragment of a partly corticated flake with a concave retouch at the proximal end. The truncated pieces are either in grey or light olive-green flint.

Notched pieces

Five notched pieces were found at the site. One [2029] is a small flake with a minuscule notch in the right lateral side, distal end. One [2032] is a corticated microblade with a small notch in the uncorticated right lateral side; discrete flat use-wear suggests use as a cutting implement, and the notch may be a hafting notch. One [2038] is a large flake which has had both lateral sides broken off; the sides were subsequently blunted by crude retouch, and a prominent notch was manufactured in the left lateral side. One [156] is the broken-off distal end of a simple flake with a retouched notch in the left lateral side near the break. The ventral edge of the break is damaged, but small rust traces suggest that this is not prehistoric use-wear but modern damage by machine or trowel. [227] is a blade with a deep notch retouched in the right lateral side, proximal end, and with two additional, less deep notches, one in either lateral side, at the distal end. The piece has sporadic retouch of both lateral sides and the two distal corners. One [227] is possibly an abandoned rough-out for a microlith, with the proximal notch being a microburin notch. Three [2038, 156 and 227] have been classified as black&grey flint (one [156] with powdery cortex), whereas two [2029, 2032] are in yellow and grey flint.

Serrated pieces

The four serrated pieces form a heterogeneous tool group but probably had the same function (sawing). One [2031] is a small blade with 13-15 minute teeth on the left lateral side, combined with fine proximal retouch. One [2039] is a simple flake with 4-5 teeth in the right lateral side, also combined with fine proximal retouch. One [2042] is a triangular flake with c. 20 delicate teeth in the right lateral side; fine retouch on the opposite edge may represent either blunting or a totally worn down secondary serrated edge. One [128] is a blade with six small notches in the left lateral side and some additional retouch of the right side. Apart from one [2042], all the serrated pieces appear rather plain, and they have a clear ad hoc appearance. The implements of this category are generally in good-quality flint of yellow or grey nuances, but one piece is patinated.

Combined tools

Two scraper-borers were recovered at the site. One [196] is manufactured on a regular flake, and has a convex scraper-edge at the proximal end and an acutely pointed borer-tip at the distal end; both retouches are inverse. One [333] is on an irregular fragment of a flake with a straight scraper-edge at one corner and a simple borer tip at an other. The piece is roughly triangular, and all three lateral sides have been blunted by simple retouch or rubbing; the retouches are mostly normal, but the retouch of the borer tip is inverse. Both pieces are in black&grey flint.

Pieces with edge-retouch

The assemblage includes 57 pieces with edge-retouch (average dimensions: 30 x 21 x 8mm; greatest dimension (GD): 10-117mm) which form an extremely heterogeneous group. They are on flakes, blades and indeterminate pieces, and the group probably includes artefacts or fragments of artefacts with different functions. In some cases, the character of the retouch or use-wear identifies the pieces as knives [117, 141, 173, 198 and 2360], but others may be fragments of scrapers, borers, etc. The artefact group includes all types, qualities and colours of flint, and one piece [78] is in pink agate.

Various pieces

One artefact [293] has been defined as a fabricator. It has been manufactured in core technique (i.e. the technique applied in the production of, for example, core axes), with three knapping seams and two pointed terminals. However, neither terminal shows any use-wear. Other possible interpretations are core borer or strike-a-light, but in those cases the terminals should have shown heavy use-wear or crushing, too. A large irregular bipolar flake [334] has been classified as a hammerstone due to heavy crushing of one corticated end. The edges of the other uncorticated end have been blunted by simple rubbing, and a dorsal ridge has been blunted by coarse retouch (possibly the remains of a unilateral crest). Both pieces are in coarse black&grey flint.


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