BEYOND THE TECHNOLOGICAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN
THE EARLY AND LATE MESOLITHIC
At the beginning of the 7th millennium BC, from Tunisia to Scandinavia and the Alps to the Atlantic, the technical baggage of Mesolithic societies underwent profound changes. Flaked artifact styles, tool types, weapon hafting techniques and the volumetric principles of stone flaking were modified by more than simple adjustments to the percussion techniques commonly used, with pressure flaking and indirect percussion replacing direct hard hammer percussion. This division of the Mesolithic in Western Europe has more to do with the technology used to transform lithic raw materials than with tool typology. This observation was in fact not lost to some archaeologists of the last century, such as E. Octobon and J.G.D. Clark, who accorded less importance to punctilious arrowhead classifications than to the general structure of flaked productions, or S.K. Kozlowski who described Mesolithic Europe as being split into two successive typological “trends” (the S and K components). In this article, I first present a summary of the changes observed in the early 7th millennium, as well as the enduring features of Mesolithic material culture. I then examine possible correlations with paleo-environmental and social phenomena to show that for the moment there are no clear links to these factors. While the ultimate goal is to clearly define this vast change in civilization, it is now necessary to work at more restricted spatial and temporal scales to enhance our understanding of this fundamental phenomenon in the history of techniques on the European continent.
To cite this article
Marchand G., 2014 – Titre, in Henry A., Marquebielle B., Chesnaux L., Michel S. (eds.), Beyond the Technological Distinction between the Early and Late Mesolithic, Proceedings of the Round table, November 22-23 2012, Maison de la recherche, Toulouse (France), P@lethnology, 6, 9-22.
The alteration of Neolithic wood charcoal
from the salt spring of Poiana Slatinei
in Lunca (Neamt, Romania):
a Natural Evolution or Consequence of Exploitation Techniques?
Alexa DUFRAISSE, Dominique SORDOILLET, Olivier WELLER
Located in immediate proximity to a salt spring still in use, the site of Poiana Slatinei in Lunca (Neamt, Romania) has yielded the earliest evidence of salt production in Europe (6050-5500 BC). It contains several dozen combustion features that form a large stratified mound of ashes, charcoal and rubified sediment layers.
In 2004, a vast sondage allowed detailed stratigraphic analysis and recording of the Early Neolithic levels and the collection of soil, charcoal and ash samples with the goal of more precisely identifying the techniques, management and interactions with the natural environment associated with salt production at this site.
While the micromorphological study led to the proposition of interpretations concerning the functioning of the fireplaces and the modes of salt exploitation, an anthracological analysis revealed a high degree of alteration of the wood charcoal fragments, or even the absence of ligneous structures. In this paper, we discuss this atypical preservation of charred particles through an analytical summary of the sedimentary, post-sedimentary and technical processes (choice of fuel material, evaporation method) observed at Lunca, and which could have played a role in their alteration.
To cite this article
Dufraisse A., Sordoillet D., Weller O., 2010 – The Alteration of Neolithic Wood Charcoal from the Salt Spring of Poiana Slatinei in Lunca (Neamt, Romania): a Natural Evolution or Consequence of Exploitation Techniques?, in Théry-Parisot I., Chabal L., Costamagno S., The taphonomy of Burned Organic Residues and Combustion Features in Archaeological Contexts, Proceedings of the round table, May 27-29 2008, CEPAM, P@lethnology, 2, 117-127.