Before the fire was lit: using the effect of heat on flint to understand disturbed palimpsests at Lyminge, Kent, UK

T.S. Lawrence, D.J. Mudd

Abstract


There has been a tendency to ignore disturbed prehistoric flint scatters in Britain. Consequently, there is a loss of potential information. Even with disturbance, some awareness of the spatial ordering of scatters can be determined, although with a much poorer resolution. It is more challenging, however, to identify phases of occupation at these sites. The intention of this paper is to create methods that assist in identifying phases of occupation by determining the relationship between the degree of burning on flint and its spatial relationship to the heat source. This will be achieved through the analysis of experimental and archaeological evidence. The differential effects of heated flint can be attributed to the material’s position under a fire. This can be used as a proxy for now disturbed, stratigraphic relationships. By using the approach set out in this paper, it may be possible to reconstruct past orders of occupation phases and activity dynamics before the fires were lit.

Full reference: Lawrence, T.S. & Mudd, D.J. 2015. Before the fire was lit: using the effect of heat on flint to understand disturbed palimpsests at Lyminge, Kent, UK. Lithics: the Journal of the Lithic Studies Society 36: 18–40.

Keywords: Lithic scatters, palimpsests, experimental flint heating, site occupation


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