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Technological and functional variability of convergent tools from Nahr Ibrahim, Lebanon : behavioral implications for Levantine Mousterian technological organization
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Convergent tools are hallmarks of the Levantine Mousterian and have long been considered an important portion of the technology. Previous typological and technological analyses alluded to a variety of purposes for these implements, including weapon tips. The role of convergent tools in Levantine Mousterian technological organization is explored through a detailed technological and functional analysis of these implements from Nahr Ibrahim, Lebanon. Comparative data are derived from Levantine Mousterian cave sites of Skhul, Kebara, Qafzeh, Tabun, Hayonim, and Tor Faraj. A small sample of convergent tools from Shanidar, Iraq represents the Zagros Mousterian. The relationship between tool manufacture and use is reflected in a set of implement design criteria employed by Levantine Mousterian hominids. Technological analysis included metric and attribute studies to determine techniques of manufacture. The method of core preparation prior to flake removal was critical to achieve the desired convergent flake shape. Functional analysis relied upon fracture mechanics of brittle solids and low-power use-wear techniques to determine tool motion, worked material, and activity sets. Activity sets were divided into extractive tasks (associated with procurement or processing of food) and maintenance tasks (attributed to tool or artifact maintenance, repair, and procurement of non-food resources). Functional analysis revealed that convergent tool uses were similar throughout the Levant, regardless of whether the implements were attributed to anatomically modern humans, archaic hominids or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Primary design criteria that were desired included broader proximal dimensions and distal convergence. Width and length were emphasized and thickness was controlled through use of the Levallois technique. Non-Levallois convergent tools, while somewhat thicker, were employed in a similar range of extractive and maintenance tasks as their Levallois counterparts. Levantine Mousterian convergent implements functioned as multi-purpose components of personal toolkits and were a significant component of the subsistence technology. Technological and functional variability was to some degree related to differences in activity location, the ranges of inferred tasks that were performed or anticipated by hominids, and varying intensities of individual, activity, and locality provisioning. Evidence indicates that there was not a great degree of behavioral difference associated with convergent tool manufacture and use during the Levantine Mousterian.
Dockall, John Edward (1997). Technological and functional variability of convergent tools from Nahr Ibrahim, Lebanon : behavioral implications for Levantine Mousterian technological organization. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from
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