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Influence of Heat Treatment on the Physical Transformations of Flint Used by Neolithic Societies in the Western Mediterranean

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 June 2011

J. Roqué-Rosell
Affiliation:
CNRS, CEMES, Université de Toulouse, F-31055 Toulouse, France
L. Torchy
Affiliation:
CNRS, CEMES, Université de Toulouse, F-31055 Toulouse, France TRACES (UMR 5608), CNRS, UTM (Université de Toulouse 2 Le Mirail), F-31058 Toulouse, France
C. Roucau
Affiliation:
CNRS, CEMES, Université de Toulouse, F-31055 Toulouse, France
V. Lea
Affiliation:
TRACES (UMR 5608), CNRS, UTM (Université de Toulouse 2 Le Mirail), F-31058 Toulouse, France
Ph. Colomban
Affiliation:
LADIR, CNRS, University Pierre et Marie Curie/Paris 6, F-94320 Thiais, France
M. Regert
Affiliation:
CEPAM, CNRS, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, F-06357 Nice Cedex 4, France
D. Binder
Affiliation:
CEPAM, CNRS, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, F-06357 Nice Cedex 4, France
J. Pelegrin
Affiliation:
Préhistoire et Technologie, UMR 7055, CNRS, MAE, F-92023 Nanterre, France.
Ph. Sciau
Affiliation:
CNRS, CEMES, Université de Toulouse, F-31055 Toulouse, France
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Abstract

The Neolithic period Chassey culture in southern France from 4200 to 3500 Cal. BC developed a specialized lithic technology for flint bladelets that used a heating process as an essential part of the production. Experimental archaeology demonstrated that the heating should take place at low temperature somewhere around 250°C. To identify and quantify the physical transformations of flint at low temperature, laboratory and synchrotron experiences have been carried out on a set of heated Barremo-Bedoulian flint samples. According to our measurements, this flint consists of a nanocrystalline matrix of quartz and moganite. Evolution of mesoporous structure was observed during heat treatment. The flint transformed between 200-300°C, resulting in a reduction in the size and volume of porosity. The densification of flint is linked to changes on the nanocrystalline grain boundaries, and it is thought to have a direct impact on the improved mechanical properties from the Chassey culture lithic productions.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2011

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References

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