Flexibility and Creativity in Microblade Core Manufacture in Southern Primorye, Far East Russia

Trudy Doelman
2009 Asian Perspectives  
IT IS WIDELY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT MICROBLADE TECHNOLOGY appeared after the LGM (around 18,000-16,000 B.P.) and dispersed across most of East and Central Asia (including Mongolia, northeast China, Korea, Japan, and Far East Russia) and then into northwest America during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. It is argued that this distribution indicates the widespread adoption and spread of a technology that was effective in countering the problems of living in an extreme northern environment, in
more » ... particular the harsh winters (Goebel 1999 (Goebel , 2002 Yesner and Pearson 2002: 134). Understanding the reasons why this technology became so dominant is viewed as the next stage in microblade research, moving away from the descriptive approaches of their manufacture, typology, and cultural origin/ethnicity (Elston and Brantingham 2002: 103; Seong 1998: 245). This paper explores the variation in core morphology appearing in assemblages from the Primorye region in the Russian Far East and argues that the typological approach does not account for all diversity in core preparation. Numerous contextual or "situational" variables such as the regional geology, the distance from the sources, and the form of the available material influenced how cores were prepared. The considerable flexibility and creativity in microblade core preparation indicates that the end products (i.e., microblades) were more important than how they were achieved. To understand the dominance of microblade technology in space and time the focus of investigation then turns to the microblades as these are directly employed to make weaponry to capture game: a vital riskminimizing strategy. THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF MICROBLADE TECHNOLOGY Microblades are produced from highly specialized, wedge-shaped cores and are thought to have been used as insets in composite tools (made from wood and Trudy Doelman is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the
doi:10.1353/asi.0.0006 fatcat:u5wlppxg6zg27p6yo37dhehaoa