A comparative assessment of Upper Paleolithic lissoir (smoother) manufacture and use

Author(s): Naomi L. Martisius

Year: 2017


Recent studies have brought focus to a category of bone tools previously thought to be restricted to modern humans. Excavations of layers dating to approximately 50 kya from two different sites in southwest France, Pech-de-l’Azé I and Abri Peyrony, have produced four nearly identical fragments of bone tools identified as lissoirs (a French term meaning "smoothers"). Lissoirs are specialized tools thought to have been used in hide preparation. Although this tool type has been defined in various ways, lissoirs have typically been described as elongated with a rounded, often polished, distal end. Little to no research to date has focused on the various aspects of lissoirs manufacture and use. Here, I present preliminary analytical and experimental data focused on understanding the variation and standardization of Upper Paleolithic lissoir technology at several Paleolithic sites. This study spans a temporal range from the early Aurignacian through the final Gravettian. Increasing our understanding of Upper Paleolithic lissoir technology will better allow the eventual integration of Middle Paleolithic bone tool manufacture and use into a higher-resolution picture of Paleolithic technology.

Cite this Record

A comparative assessment of Upper Paleolithic lissoir (smoother) manufacture and use. Naomi L. Martisius. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430422)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16150