Levallois technique

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A distinctive type of flint knapping found occasionally in the Lower Palaeolithic but most associated with the Mousterian industries of the Middle Palaeolithic. In the Levant the technique is also used in the Upper Palaeolithic. The technique is named after finds made during the 19th century at Levallois‐Perret in the suburbs of Paris, and involves the careful preparation of substantial core prior to the removal of the intended flake. Preparation involved establishing a striking platform, trimming the edge of the core to the desired shape and working the surface to create a slightly domed form by flaking inwards from the outer edges towards the centre. The finished core before the flake is removed is often known as a ‘tortoise core’ because of its faceted domed back and flat underside. When the desired flake is detached from the core the flake itself (known as a Levallois flake) shows the scars of the preparatory work on the dorsal surface while the ventral face is smooth. Because of the wide range of cultural contexts in which this technique was used the idea of a Levallois Culture is now obsolete.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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