Later prehistoric and historical lithic industries

By and large, it is possible to subdivide British early prehistoric industries into a number of general typo-technological temporal units, such as, the Upper Palaeolithic/Early Mesolithic broad blade industries, the Late Mesolithic/Early Neolithic microblade industries, the Middle Neolithic broad blade industries, the Late Neolithic combined flake/blade (Levallois-like) industries, and the Early Bronze Age flake industries. At the transition betweeen the Early and Late Bronze Age periods, the application of schematic lithic reduction, as well as invasive retouch, is abandoned, but not lithic reduction as such. Lithic blanks and informal tools are still being systematically produced through the later Bronze Age, and probably well into the Early Iron Age (although more so in peripheral parts of Britain than in central parts where metal has at this time effectively replaced the use of stone), and as these late industries form part of the wider economies of the time, they should not be ignored.

click to enlarge
Later Bronze Age flint workshops on top of Barrow 1, Raunds, Northamptonshire (Ballin 2003; 2008).

Later Bronze Age flint workshops on top of Barrow 1, Raunds, Northamptonshire (Ballin 2003; 2008).

However, there are also signs of the occasional use of flint after this time, and assemblages from Scottish ports (eg, Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh), possibly based on ballast flint, may represent either very late prehistoric material or the ad hoc use of flint in historical time. This research field clearly needs more attention. In addition, I have dealt with post Medieval gunflints, their production, typology/terminology, chronology, use and deposition, as well as – not least – the definition of a coherent, focused research framework/methodology within this field.

Standard D-shaped gunflint and exceptionally small D-shaped gunflint – both from Dun Eistean, Lewis, Western Isles (Ballin forthcoming).
Danish flintlock cock with leather pad
and gunflint still in situ (kindly donated
to my research by metal detectorist
Tommy H. Olesen, Lejre, Denmark).
Standard D-shaped gunflint and
exceptionally small D-shaped gunflint
– both from Dun Eistean, Lewis,
Western Isles (Ballin forthcoming).