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Knapping tools in Magdalenian contexts: New evidence from Gough’s Cave (Somerset, UK)

Bello, SM; Crété, L; Galway-Witham, J; Parfitt, SA; (2021) Knapping tools in Magdalenian contexts: New evidence from Gough’s Cave (Somerset, UK). PLoS One , 16 (12) , Article e0261031. 10.1371/journal.pone.0261031. Green open access

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Abstract

Our knowledge of the recolonization of north-west Europe at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum depends to a large extent on finds from Gough's Cave (Somerset, UK). Ultra-high resolution radiocarbon determinations suggest that the cave was occupied seasonally by Magdalenian hunters for perhaps no more than two or three human generations, centred on 12,600 BP (~14,950-14,750 cal BP). They left behind a rich and diverse assemblage of Magdalenian lithic and osseous artefacts, butchered animal bones, and cannibalised human remains. The faunal assemblage from Gough's Cave is one of the most comprehensively studied from any Magdalenian site, yet new and unexpected discoveries continue to be made. Here, we record previously unrecognized flint-knapping tools that were identified during a survey of the Gough's Cave faunal collection at the Natural History Museum (London). We identified bones used as hammers and teeth manipulated as pressure-flakers to manufacture flint tools. Most of the pieces appear to be ad hoc (single-use?) tools, but a horse molar was almost certainly a curated object that was used over an extended period to work many stone tools. This paper explores how these knapping tools were used to support a more nuanced understanding of Magdalenian stone-tool manufacturing processes. Moreover, we provide a standard for identifying minimally-used knapping tools that will help to establish whether retouchers and other organic stone-working tools are as rare in the Magdalenian archaeological record as current studies suggest.

Type: Article
Title: Knapping tools in Magdalenian contexts: New evidence from Gough’s Cave (Somerset, UK)
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261031
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0261031
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 Bello et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141779
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