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2015-10-04 15:33:55   •   ID: 1250

Bifacial tools from Saint-Brice-sous-Rânes

Figure 1
These are some artifacts ( max.: 7 cm long) from Saint-Brice-sous-Rânes. Among them, Small handaxes (in German: Fäustel“), Unifacial Handaxes (in German: „ Halbkeile“, Typical Bifacial Scrapers and some asymmetric pieces show affinities to the “Middle European Keilmessergruppe” (Central European Micoquian) are present in abundance.

Anyhow the diagnostic Keilmesser from a genuine Micoquian context are absent.

The site of Saint-Brice-sous-Rânes, la "Bruyère" (Orne) belongs to a cluster of middle Paleolithic production sites for bifacial tools covering about the area of 200 hectares. These sites were found on the plateau, the slopes and on top of a flat-bottomed valley.

Surveys and limited excavations were performed in 1998 and 1999 and showed some material in situ, undisturbed by periglacial phenomena.

Excavations were carried out between 1999 and 2010. Tl-data provided for the first time secure dates for an older series, characterized by the Levallois technique (MIS 6) and an abundant younger series  dated around 40 k.a. BP .

The artifacts have sometime a surprising state of "freshness", which is also seen on some pieces displayed here.

Microtraceological studies have identified the execution of various tasks asociated with the retouched artifacts (for example: working with organic material). 

They are almost exclusively made of Lower Bathonian flint, a raw material found in abundance in the immediate vicinity.

The density of artifacts (40 to 400 objects per square meter) and the nature of the material suggest the existence of large workshop production areas for bifacial tools.

Although some nuclei show the implementation of a centripetal recurrent Levallois technique, the majority of the blanks were part of a non-laminar and non-Levallois production sequence. The lithic assemblages are clearly related to a “Moustérien à pièces bifaciales dominantes”.

A late OIS3 date (TL) fits fine into the chronology of the late Mousterian of Northern France and is contemporaneous with the late Micoquian in Middle Europe.

About the Bifacial Mousterian in N/W-Franc see here: 1179 , 1501 , here 1665 , here: 1250 , 1585 , and here: 1077

Provenance: Perez Collection.