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Hafting of Middle Paleolithic tools in Latium (central Italy): New data from Fossellone and Sant'Agostino caves

Degano, Ilaria
Soriano, Sylvain
Villa, Paola
Lucejko, Jeannette J.
Jacobs, Zenobia
Douka, Katerina
Vitagliano, Silvana
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Published in PLOS ONE. 2019, vol. 14, no. 6, e0213473
Abstract Hafting of stone tools was an important advance in the technology of the Paleolithic. Evidence of hafting in the Middle Paleolithic is growing and is not limited to points hafted on spears for thrusting or throwing. This article describes the identification of adhesive used for hafting on a variety of stone tools from two Middle Paleolithic caves in Latium, Fossellone Cave and Sant'Agostino Cave. Analysis of the organic residue by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry shows that a conifer resin adhesive was used, in one case mixed with beeswax. Contrary to previous suggestions that the small Middle Paleolithic tools of Latium could be used by hand and that hafting was not needed since it did not improve their functionality, our evidence shows that hafting was used by Neandertals in central Italy. Ethnographic evidence indicates that resin, which dries when exposed to air, is generally warmed by exposure to a small fire thus softened to be molded and pushed in position in the haft. The use of resin at both sites suggests regular fire use, as confirmed by moderate frequencies of burnt lithics in both assemblages. Lithic analysis shows that hafting was applied to a variety of artifacts, irrespective of type, size and technology. Prior to our study evidence of hafting in the Middle Paleolithic of Italy was limited to one case only.
Keywords PrehistoryPalaeolithicLithic industryItaly
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Research group Laboratoire d'archéologie et peuplement de l'Afrique (APA)
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DEGANO, Ilaria et al. Hafting of Middle Paleolithic tools in Latium (central Italy): New data from Fossellone and Sant'Agostino caves. In: PLOS ONE, 2019, vol. 14, n° 6, p. e0213473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213473 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:122886

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Deposited on : 2019-09-10

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