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British Mousterian and earlier tools and sites

flint tools flint tools


Hand axes from Swanscome, England, 1.5 million - 200 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Københavns (Copenhagen) Museum, National Museum of Denmark




flint tools flint tools


Hand axes from Swanscome, England, 1.5 million - 200 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Københavns (Copenhagen) Museum, National Museum of Denmark




English hand axe



Acheulian hand axe, ca 400 000 BP, from Hoxne, England

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Monrepos Archäologisches Forschungszentrum und Museum, Neuwied, Germany




dsc04242 levallois core and scar
Flint Levallois core

( This is a beautiful piece, showing clearly the scar from the preparation and removal of a single classic levallois flake following circumferential preparation of the flaking surface. The flint appears to be fossiliferous - Don )

Circa 300 000 BP - 130 000 BP, Marine Isotope Stages 9 to 7.

From Baker's Hole, Kent, England.

The site of Baker's Hole in the Ebbsfleet valley, Kent, is the best-known British Early Middle Palaeolithic (MIS 9–7) site, and has produced a substantial assemblage of Levallois artefacts.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
On loan from the Trustees of the British Museum
Source and text: Musée de l'Homme, Paris
Additional text: Scott (2010)




baker hole map
Baker's Hole is a 6.9 hectares (17 acres) geological Site of Special Scientific Interest, mostly consisting of a back-filled quarry, adjacent to Ebbsfleet International railway station in Kent.

At left is a location map showing the position of the Ebbsfleet Valley, in relation to mapped terraces of the Thames in area (A), as well as key positions investigated around Baker's Hole and the Ebbsfleet Valley (B).

Photo and text: Scott (2010)
Additional text: Wikipedia




Neanderthal North Sea Neanderthal North Sea


Neanderthal North Sea Neanderthal North Sea


Neanderthal North Sea
Four Neanderthal handaxes, recovered from the bed of the North Sea offshore from Yarmouth by dredging.

An amazing haul of 28 flint hand-axes, dated by archaeologists as around 100 000 years old, have been recovered off the coast of Norfolk.

The remarkable find was made by a Dutch amateur archaeologist, Jan Meulmeester, who sifted through gravel unearthed from a licensed marine aggregate dredging area 13km off Great Yarmouth and delivered to a wharf in southern Holland. Reckoned to be the finest hand-axes that experts are certain come from English waters, the rare finds show that deep in the Ice Age, mammoth hunters roamed across land that is now submerged beneath the sea.

'These finds are massively important', said Ice Age expert Phil Harding of Wessex Archaeology and Channel 4’s Time Team. 'In the Ice Age the cold conditions meant that water was locked up in the ice caps. The sea level was lower then, so in some places what is now the seabed was dry land.'

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, on loan from the Meulmeester Collection
Text: http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art55043




british mousterian sites


Locations of British Mousterian sites with bifaces/biface thinning flakes.

The landmass is shown with approximately -50m sea levels, circa 50 000 BP.


1: Creswell locales, including Robin Hood Cave, Pin Hole, Mother Grundy’s Parlour, Ash Tree Cave
2: Coygan Cave
3: Lynford Quarry and Saham Toney
4: Little Paxton
5: Marlow
6: Berrymead
7: Sipson
8: Snodland
9: Oldbury
10: Uphill Quarry
11: Picken’s Hole
12: Hyaena Den and Rhinoceros Hole
13: Fisherton
14: Castle Lane and Southbourne
15: Kent’s Cavern.

Photo and text: Wragg (2010)




Bout coupé biface handaxes

Bout coupé characteristics:

• rounded tip
• two slightly convex lateral edges
• cutting edge worked around the entire circumference
• a very low position of maximum width
• two clear angles at the intersection of the butt and lateral margins
• straight or slightly convex butt edge

Text above: Karen et al. (2016)

biface bout coupé
The two most classic (or extreme) examples of bout coupés.

Left: Coygan Cave; right: Castle Lane, Bournemouth.

Photo and text: Wragg (2010)




dsc04240 number 3
Bout coupé biface flint handaxe

Circa 71 000 BP - 57 000 BP

Marine isotope stage 4, a cold glacial period.

Catalog: B324, Castle Lane below Redbreast, Bournemouth
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
On loan from the Trustees of the British Museum
Source and text: Musée de l'Homme, Paris




point mis 3
Flint point

Circa 57 000 BP - 35 000 BP, Marine isotope stage 3, a warm glacial period.

From: Beedings, south-eastern England.

This piece is from a collection of lithic artefacts unearthed during the building of a house called Beedings on a scarp crest near Pulborough in West Sussex.The discovery was probably made in 1900. The collection is very obviously multi-period, but it includes the largest group of Early Upper Palaeolithic artefacts from south-eastern England. Attributed to this time are leaf-points, end-scrapers, and burins.

While recent selection has much reduced the collection it also appears to contain contemporary cores and debitage and evidence for the production of bladelets. In a British context this find is unique and in a European perspective it is one of the richest assemblages attributable to the Lincombian–Ranisian–Jerzmanowician technocomplex.

The age of this technocomplex is poorly constrained, but Jacobi (2007) argue that it belongs to the earliest part of the Upper Palaeolithic, starting earlier than the local Aurignacian. The Upper Palaeolithic material from Beedings is interpreted as having come from a hunting camp situated so as to exploit the extensive views across the western Weald.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
On loan from the Sussex Archaeological Society
Source and text: Musée de l'Homme, Paris
Additional text: Jacobi (2007)




References

  1. Jacobi, R., Debenham N., Catt J., 2007: A Collection of Early Upper Palaeolithic Artefacts from Beedings, near Pulborough, West Sussex, and the Context of Similar Finds from the British Isles, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, Volume 73 2007 , pp. 229-326.
  2. Karen R., Rebecca M., Wragg S., 2016: Spatio-temporal variation in late Middle Palaeolithic Neanderthal behaviour: British bout coupé handaxes as a case study, Quaternary International, Volume 411, Part A, 8 August 2016, Pages 305-326
  3. Scott B., 2010: The investigation of Baker's Hole, Northfleet, Kent, 1909–1914; the impact of collection history upon the interpretation of archaeological data, Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 121(1):77-82, DOI: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2010.02.006
  4. Wragg, R., 2010: Beyond bout coupés: the dynamic role of bifaces in the British Mousterian, Lithics, The Journal of the Lithic Studies Society 31: 20–32.





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