Wednesday, June 24: Surveying and Tool Making

Today we started off the day riding the bus to a woodsy area in Fabas and hiking up a path, examining badger and deer tracks along the way. We stopped and Sébastien said to find flint along the paths. Someone spotted a large chunk of flint and soon he began to construct the piece into a tool, the way that a Magdalenian person would. It looked simple enough so after a couple students in our group gave a shot at creating the tool, I took my turn. But trust me, it is NOT as simple as it seems. I repeat. Not simple. First I had to find the proper position for my hand on the rock so that when I was breaking off bits of flint, I didn’t break off bits of my finger along with it. Next, I would find that it was even more difficult to hit the flint with enough momentum that it would actually break. And finally when you thought you were ready, hitting the rock in the correct spot became even more challenging the harder you swung. So now I have had a glimpse of what stone tool making is like. So Magdalenians, I applaud you.

Next we went to a field with crops growing in it. Because the ground had been turned over by a plow, it was the perfect opportunity to see what lay beneath the surface of the soil. We surveyed the field, finding bags and bags of possible artifacts (and some useless sandstone to Sébastien’s displeasure). After packing up and going back to the Gite and eating lunch, we lay all of the artifacts across a table and cleaned them off to examine them. It was incredible that just from looking at the rock you can tell whether or not it was a tool, or a core, where the flint was struck, and what time period it came from. I really enjoyed this day of surveying, and I feel like after this day I have a better understanding of archaeology and the Paleolithic era.

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