Amy innes



Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Honours)


School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences


Sam Lin


The occurrence of Levallois tools in the archaeological record is considered to represent an evolutionary hallmark in human technological development, as the predetermined nature of Levallois flake morphology is seen to reflect advancements in the cognition of early hominid toolmakers. A range of subtypes exist within the Levallois group, all of which feature differing preparation methods of the core surface as a means to predetermine the manufacture of distinct flake shapes. While archaeologists devoted much effort to investigate how Levallois core surfaces were prepared, relatively less attention has been paid to other aspects of Levallois reduction, including the ways in which percussive blow was applied to strike off the flake. Previous mechanical knapping experiments have found that the angle at which a hammerstone strikes a core during knapping is influential over flake formation, such that flakes made by different hammer striking angles can vary considerably in their size and shape. However, research into the effect of hammer striking angle has been only minimal due to difficulties in measuring the hammer striking angle in flakes from the archaeological iii record. Using a mechanical flaking machine, this project systematically examines the effect of hammer striking angle on Levallois flake formation by flaking two standardised Levallois core types at two distinct hammer striking angles. The flakes were analysed using standard calliper-based morphometrics and 2-dimensional shape analysis. The results show that hammer striking angle has a significant influence over not only linear flake attributes, especially the thickness of the flake and the bulb of percussion, but the 2-dimensional shape of the flakes produced. In particular, the Levallois flakes produced by a more oblique hammer striking angle are consistently more elongated irrespective of the Levallois core type, providing evidence that controlling the hammer striking angle may be more important than adjusting the core morphology in Levallois reduction. The results of this project indicate that further research into the effects of the hammer striking angle is important to expand current understandings of the Levallois technology and its connection to the planning, learning, and communication abilities of early human and Neanderthal populations.

FoR codes (2008)

210102 Archaeological Science



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.