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Flintknapping: Merging Mind and Body

Lecture | April 4 | 12-1 p.m. |  2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)


Felicia De Pena, University of California, Berkeley Department of Anthropology

Archaeological Research Facility


My work is focused on situating the transmission of flintknapping knowledge between mobile Epipaleolithic (20,000 - 10,500 BP) hunter-gatherer peoples of the Levant through chaîne opératoire. By refitting bladelet cores at Kharaneh IV, Jordan, I strive to identify how individuals learned to flintknap, from raw material acquisition through the production of the final tool. I view the knowledge transmission process as a proxy for culture, as apprentices took on new ideas and identities to fit within a community of practice, the apprentice may have lost (or maintained) kinship ties yet subscribed to a more meaningful relationship within their community of practice. Kharaneh IV is an Early and Middle Epipaleolithic aggregation site well -situated for this research to examine the learning process due to its well-preserved stratigraphy numerous caches, and hut structures, which allows for observation of repetitive practices and identification of changes in technique. Current (and future) experimental flintknapping events in conjunction with 3D imaging and core refitting have been employed to establish baseline knowledge regarding the relationship between skill level and social structures that influence the production process.


510-642-2212