2014-07-20 08:46:35 • ID: 1173
A rare Cleaver from Mazières/ Creuse and the Early Acheulian in Central France
This is a 20 cm long Bifacial-Cleaver from Mazières/ Creuse Valley in Central France, dating to ca. 500 k.a. ago. The final "tranchet flake" is knapped from both sides and consist of several traversal intentional bilateral blows.
Cleavers may be produced from large Flakes, a technique common on Africa (Flake Cleavers) or may be formed from a Biface (Bifacial Cleaver). The classification of large Flakes and Bifacial tools as Cleaver results from the presence of a tranchet flake on the distal portion of the tool.
In Europe Cleavers are uncommon, but Flake Cleavers can make up to 15% of an assemble in regions where the raw material occurs in the form of large quartzite cobbles, that allow to detach large flakes, as for example in the Spanish Meseta and the Garonne and Tarn valleys of southwestern France. Elsewhere (northern France, England, Italy), cleavers are notorious rare. Bifacial Cleavers occur, although in low numbers, in the European Acheulian context, for example at la Noira site (see below).
More than 100 Paleolithic sites that have been discovered in the alluvial deposits of the rivers Creuse, Cher, and Loire during the last 150 years. Anyhow, absolute dates about the archaeological deposits were not available until very recently.
Systematic dating of river deposits, mainly by Electron Spin Resonance (ESR), together with geological investigation of the well developed river terraces, resulted in the establishment of a chronological framework for the evolution of these rivers during the Lower and Middle Pleistocene
Evidence for Early Palaeolithic industries with an in situ context indicates that Hominins were present in the center of France around 1.1 Ma (A Pont-de-Lavaud in the Creuse Valley, Lunery in the Cher Valley and Saint-Hilaire-la-Gravelle in the Loire Valley). At these early sites, Hominids are present in deposits that relate to the beginning and end of cold Periods. This Evidence and data from other early Paleolithic European sites now clearly indicate that Hominids reached the latitude of 45 N and indeed further north towards eastern England during warm and temperate episodes.
After a gap of several 100 k.a. ensembles with handaxes appear in the Middle Loire Basin in the interval between 700 and 600 k.a., and then continuously from 400 k.a. The chronological gap between the early core and flake technology and the later Acheulian in central France is generally interpreted as indication of two phases of settlement within this region.
The site of la Noira see also post: 1587 which is of special importance in the local stratigraphy, is located in the in the middle Cher valley. At Noira the lower Archaeological Level showed a mean ESR age value of 655 ± 55 ka (MIS 15/14). An upper stratum dated to 449 ± 45 old was also present. Both strata show well elaborated handaxes, bifacial tools and bifacial cleavers. Iovita et al. recently (2017; see external link) demonstrated a high grade of symmetry even for the oldest Ensemble, suggestive for an external trigger for this novel behavior, which is also securely attested from other sites in S-Europe (Notarchirico (600 k.a) in Italy and Arago > 550 k.a. in France.
Resources and images in full resolution:
- Image: 2018-08-07_aggsbachcleavercreuse_11.jpg
- Extern Link: www.sciencedirect.com…S1040618209002365
- Extern Link: journals.plos.org…journal.pone.0177063&type=printable