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Description: Scaled or splintered pieces are one of the most common lithic artifacts type in Upper Paleolithic assemblages throughout Europe, especially in its westernmost regions. Despite this, and even after one century of being identified there is still no consensus on how to define, analyze or interpret these tools. In western Iberia there is a clear lack of comprehensive studies regarding this type of artifacts at a regional scale. In this paper we present a first techno-morphological analysis of a sample of scaled pieces from the Upper Paleolithic site of Vale Boi. Our first aim was to build upon existing analytical models in order to identify function and possible reduction strategies for these artifacts. Our second goal was to critically evaluate the role of these artifacts within western Iberia’s Upper Paleolithic. Our results showed that functional identification of scaled pieces is still not clear. By comparing our data with other author’s we found that current models could not be applied to the archaeological record, as the attribute variability is too high. Furthermore, in this region we found that higher frequencies of bipolar technology can be found related to residential sites due to both functional and cultural patterns. While we still cannot define a specific function for these artifacts (intermediate pieces or wedges for working hard raw materials or cores for the extraction of chips and small bladelets), it is clear that they had a major role in the variability and intensification of resource exploitation during the Upper Paleolithic in western Iberia.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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