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2014-05-20 05:35:58   •   ID: 1157

Middle Paleolithic Leaf-Point from Mauern

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This is a leaf point from “cave A” at the Weinberghöhlen near Mauern, found in the 1930ies most probably by A Bohmers, a Dutch archaeologist, who made his career in Nazi-Germany under the Protection of the “Ahnenerbe”-organisation of Heinrich Himmler.

He worked not only at Mauern, but also at such important sites as Dolni Vestonice and Kulna in the occupied Czechoslovakia during the war. After WW2 he moved back to the Netherlands and sold some of the precious artefacts he had excavated. Such items, including this leaf point, never appeared in his Mauern Monograph during the 1950ies.

The European industries with leaf points are of particular interest with regard to their role in the transition from the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic. They are  by no means uniform, neither technological nor typological.

We should leave aside the leaf points of Hungary, because this topic is too controversal at the moment. 

The  Lincombian-Ranisian-Jerzmanovicien  is clearly an upper Palelithic industry dating to 40-35 k.a. BP. The early Szeletian in Moravia seems indeed to be "transitional" (discoid and upper Paleolithic cores, blades and flakes, upper and middle Paleolithic implements).

Based on geochronological, C-14 and TL data, L Kaminská1 recently proposed a bi- partition of the Central European Szeletian.  An early facies, rooted in the Keilmessergruppen at Vedrovice V, Moravský Krumlov IV, Želešice-Hoynerhügel, older than 40 k.a. and maybe situated between 45 and 60 k.a. BP and a younger facies with Moravany-Dlhá points, dating to the later OIS3.

The Weinberghöhlen near Mauern in Bavaria are one of the most important reference sites for the leaf point-complex in Germany. Two horizons, zone 5 and, above all, zone 4 have yielded bifacial leaf points in the context of a late Mousterian with some affinities to a Quina production system and the Keilmessergruppen (Middle European Micoquien).

The industry is dated to an Interstadial (Hengelo or earlier during OIS3).The only pyramidal core of the ensemble seems to be intrusive from a Gravettian occupation of the site. In sum this industry is not "transitional" but represents a middle Paleolithic. Many of the leafpoints at Mauern are highly sophisticated and indicate an advanced level of stone knapping abilities, putatively those of Homo Neanderthaliensis. The function of leaf points is not known (Hunting spear tips, knifes, prestigious objects?).