Two Examples of Pressure Blade Production with a Lever: Recent Research from the Southern Caucasus (Armenia) and Northern Mesopotamia (Syria, Iraq)



Due to their optional and not ubiquitous characters, blade productions by pressure, particularly with the use of a lever, merit being distinguished as they are important cultural markers and witnesses of the diffusion of technical innovation in prehistory. On the basis of the experimental data from J. Pelegrin (this volume), blades detached by pressure with a lever are identified within two lithic industries.

The first comes from the Araxe basin (Erevan region, Armenia, Southern Caucasus) and dates to the sixth millennium B.C. Numerous obsidian outcrops were exploited for the production of different size blades through pressure with a lever, pressure with a long crutch (‘standing’ pressure) and indirect percussion (‘punch’ technique).

The second industry, dating to the early third millennium B.C., refers to the so-called Near Eastern Canaanean flint blade technology, produced at least in parts of the Upper Euphrates valley and commonly recovered as glossy fragments or ‘Canaanean elements’ throughout the whole of Northern Mesopotamia. Most of the blade blanks examined – in particular from Tell ‘Atij and Tell Gudeda (Northern Syria) – were detached by pressure with a lever and a copper point, but others were detached by indirect percussion. Some other pieces from a ‘Nineveh V’ context in Northern Iraq were also detached by pressure with a lever but present a different platform.

These observations aim to contribute in the reconstruction of a ‘genealogy’ of these particular techniques.


Lever Pressure Pressure Technique Pressure Blade Lithic Industry Large Blade 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author would like to thank Ruben Badalyan (University of Erevan), Christine Chataigner (MOM/Université de Lyon 2), Michel Fortin (Laval University), Harry Lerner (Postdoc Laval University), James Woollett (Laval University) and Shirley Schreider.

Illustrations of Figs. 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6 and 6.9 were provided by Julie Leclerc under the supervision of J. Chabot and J. Pelegrin, with the participation of Gérard Monthel (UMR 7055).

The map of Fig. 6.1 was provided by Christine Chataigner and that of Fig. 6.7 by Andrée Héroux.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CELAT (Laboratoires d’archéologie)Université LavalQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Laboratoire “Préhistoire et Technologie”CNRS et Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, MAENanterreFrance

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