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Petrographical, Structural, and Mechanical Analysis of Armorican Phtanites: A Key Raw Material for the Mesolithic in Western France

Abstract : Over the last ninety years or so, archaeological field work on outcrops of raw materials in western France has allowed researchers to identify the use of a large number of deformed rock types in lithic industries. These materials include Armorican phtanites, which are cherts that were widely exploited during the Mesolithic, principally during its final phase (5500­5000 yrs cal. B.C.). Because of variations in the mineralogical composition and physical properties of phtanites, different mechanical properties are exhibited by samples from the four main geological formations containing this rock type in the Armorican Massif of western France. These geological and mechanical parameters influenced the quantity of rock used and the knapping methods employed. They also influenced the tool types produced and their transfer, as recorded in archaeological sequences. The types of raw materials used are also controlled by the distance to sources of coastal flint pebbles or other autochthonous siliceous rocks. Therefore, the role of raw material properties in the creation and persistence of techno-cultural or economic characteristics is different for each type of phtanite and yields fundamental information on the interaction of society with the geological environment.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 10:53:53 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 5, 2019 - 8:03:07 PM

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Rodrigue Tsobgou Ahoupe, Marie-Pierre Dabard. Petrographical, Structural, and Mechanical Analysis of Armorican Phtanites: A Key Raw Material for the Mesolithic in Western France. Geoarchaeology: An International Journal, Wiley, 2010, 25 (3), pp.327-351. ⟨10.1002/gea.20310⟩. ⟨insu-00609815⟩

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