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2016-07-15 06:48:56   •   ID: 1478

A Zinken from Hengistbury Head

Figure 1
This surface find is a typical “Zinken”, and the first one ever noted from Hengistbury Head. During the British Final Paleolithic (Most probably related to the Maiendorf / Bölling Interstadial), shouldered and tanged point industries, resembling the classic Hambourgian forms are found throughout the country and are now known from 26 sites.

During the Upper Paleolithic Britain was a peninsula of the European mainland, with the area of the North Sea still dry land (Doggerland). Herds of reindeer and wild horses roamed the area of this extended North European Plain on seasonal migrations, followed by the Late Upper Paleolithic hunters, equipped with specialized hunting kits. In Northern Germany and the Netherlands, these ensembles are known as “Hambourgian”, dating to the End of the earliest Dryas and the Maiendorf / Bölling Interstadial.

Such sites have been known for a long time in Germany, after initially being found in the Ahrensburg Valley near Hamburg, from which the culture takes its name. They are characterized manly by shouldered points and Zinken.

In continental North Europe typical Hambourgian ensembles lack of backed implements, while slightly later sites in Southern Germany and the Paris basin ("Facies Cepoy- Marsagny"),  show a combination of Hambourgian and Cresswellian-like shouldered points combined with backed projectile points.

One interesting “Hambourgian like” ensemble in GB is Hengistbury Head, a headland jutting into the English Channel between Bournemouth and Milford on Sea. It is not surprising that this site was repeatedly visited during, given its position on a promontory commanding a view of the Solent river at the point of two south-flowing rivers: the Avon and Stour.

Hengistbury Head so far is the largest British site from the late Pleistocene. The inventory is suggested recovered from a single find-horizon, and includes not only backed pieces, tanged points, simple scrapers and burins but also shouldered points presenting a Hambourgian influence or contact, rather than a Hambourgian sensu strictu. Late Magdalenian / Cresswellian influences can also be noted.

Up to now 30 refitted knapping sequences are know, allowing the reconstruction of several knapping scatters on the site, consistent with the view, that the lithic material is only moderately dispersed by post-depositional processes. At least two distinct areas, an area centered on a hearth and a knapping area have been recognized. Microwear analysis indicates that backed bladelets were hafted and used to cut soft materials such as hide and meat. Others were used as projectile points.

Barton (1992) has hypothesized that Hengistbury Head was an aggregation camp for hunting horses or reindeers during autumn or spring. The location of other “Hambourgian-like sites” in Britain parallels that of continental sites which are usually clustered around major river valleys.

In Britain there are a number of open-air find spots, which exhibit a limited array of stone artifacts, probably reflecting single occupation sites. These “Hambourgian like” assemblages are dominated by blade production on uni and bipolar cores, the spurred (en éperon) faceted striking platforms of the European continental Magdalenian are absent. Straight-backed blades, shouldered points and Zinken are important elements of the retouched component.

Some years ago, data about the first open-air Upper Paleolithic site in Scotland, at Howburn, near Biggar in South Lanarkshire, were published. Here the ensemble is mixed, but  some elements belong certainlyto the Hambourgian tradition. Zinken and tanged / shouldered points are present and the shouldered implements are very similar to an example from the Hambourgian site at Vledder in the Netherlands (600 km across Doggerland).

Such findings emphasize tight connections with continental Europe, first discussed by Rust in the 1930ies.

More about Zinken here: 1710




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