Friday, 1 February 2013

Petit Tranchet Transverse Arrowheads

Petit Tranchet arrowheads are similar in design to Chisel Arrowheads however they are transverse. Transverse means they were knapped sideways. Usually arrowheads are knapped along the length of the flake, but with transverse arrowheads they go from one side to the other across the width of the flake. Also rather than being made from either a debitage flake or a custom removed flake from a prepared nodule they made from blade struck off a blade core. 

There is nothing as sharp as the edge of a newly stuck flint flake,  no amount of retouching can come even close to this level of sharpness, the Petit Tranchet design makes use of this. Designs that narrow towards a point retouching must always be done to shape them however the Petit Tranchet's unusual design allows the unmodified edge to be retained as tip. 

The advantage of a blade core industry is that blades can be turned into almost all flint tools, knives, drills, butchery tools, woodworking tools, leather working tools, sickles and hunting weapons, almost all knapping needs bar axes and adzes can be created from cores. This creates standardisation, a person need only carry a few blades with them and they can modify them on the spot to any tools. It also creates specialisation of industry where people can become highly skilled at producing at one kind of knapping. Petit Tranchets then coming from cores provide a blade based industry a quality easy to manufacture arrowhead, whereas any other design would require knappers with differing skills such as pressure flaking and bifacial knapping.

Making a Petit Tranchet from a blade is quite easy, but generating a blade to make one from highly skilled, in blade core industries this means division of the labour is possible, a specialist expert knapper will provide the blades then anyone can take them and make their own tools from them, with the case of hunters, that being arrowheads. This introduces many of the principles of mass production to flint tool making.

Neolithic & Mesolithic Petit Tranchet Arrowheads 
found in various places inNorthern Europe


1 comment:

  1. Thanks very much for the insight into the use of the fresh struck untouched edge.