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Gun-lock and fire-lighter flints from excavations in Kazan: experimental use-wear research

Journal: Povolzhskaya Arkheologiya (The Volga River Region Archaeology) (Vol.3, No. 9)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ; ; ; ;

Page : 256-276

Keywords : Kazan; the 17th-18th centuries; gun-lock and fire-lighter flints; flint scrapers; experimental archaeology; use-wear analysis;

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The results of experimental and use-wear research in assemblage of the flint artifacts from the 1995-2005 excavations in Kazan are represented in the article. The study has been motivated by the necessity to identify the finds of flint items either as prehistoric scrapers, blades, and cores or as gun-lock and fire-starter flints. In order to define the items' use-wear features, a set of standard pattern tools (gun and fire flints) has been produced and used. Experimental shooting has been carried out using a replica of a 1806 Russian musket. An iron fire-lighter dating to the 15th-17th centuries (an occasional find) has been applied in experimental fire-making by striking sparks using the standard pattern flints. The microscopic analysis of the standard pattern gun and fire flints made it possible for the authors to identify the macro- and micro-wear traces. The traceological analysis of the flint artifacts (54 samples) has revealed the wear peculiarities of the gun-flints and fire stones. As a result, most flint scrapers and retouched blades found in Kazan have been identified as gun-flints whereas the cores and massive flakes have been attributed as fire stones. Only five fire flints bear the remaining traces of real scraper working parts on their striking edges. The extreme degree of utilization of the gun-flints made of qualitative raw material and reutilization of prehistoric scrapers and cores is supposed to be caused by a shortage of qualitative flint with the population of Kazan in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Last modified: 2017-05-22 15:20:01