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2018-02-26 08:35:40   •   ID: 1735

The Middle Paleolithic in Northern Hessen: KMG, Prądnik Cycle, Eastern Micoquian

Figure 1
Figure 1 displays a slightly asymmetric Micoquian “Faustkeilblatt” (7 cm long) with a broken tip, made of quartzite from a field near the classic Middle Paleolithic site of Lenderscheid near Kassel / Germany, found in 1982.

Faustkeilblätter (artefacts with a finely retouched point, blunt base with a flat dorsal face covering retouched), Halbkeile (elongated unifaces with a D-shaped cross- section), Fäustel (small bifaces < 6 cm) and Blattspitzen (leaf points) are the hallmarks of the Central European Micoquian (Bosinski 1967; Richter 2009).

During the late Middle Paleolithic (after OIS 5e), bifacially worked tools play a substantial role in the archaeological record both in Middle and West Europe.

Ruebens evaluated, if different technocomplexes, that have been described in the past (for example MTA, Central European Micoquian [Keilmesser Groups], Mousterian with small Bifaces, Bout de coupe handaxes...) are genuine entities in the archaeological record or merely an artificial creation caused by the application of different classificatory frameworks. Ruebens found that:

- Backed and leaf shaped bifacial tools only dominante the Archaeological record east of the Rhine river

-Classic MTA-handaxes (thin Cordiformes or triangular handaxes) only occur west of the Rhine River

-The area of Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern France contains a more variable record of bifacial tools (a contemporary mix of both unifacial „Mousterian“ and bifacial „Micoquian“ tool types) indicating possible influences from both the east and west.

-These regional trends cannot be linked to epistemological or classificatory issues and therefore probably represent genuine differences in Neanderthal behavior (Reubens 2007).

Figure 2: Foliates from Röhrsheim
Although I agree with the essential results of Ruebens work, I would like to add that:

There are sites west of the Rhine within the “MTA” heartland with a clear Micoquian character (Mont de Beuvry, Abri du Musee at Les Eyzies with classic prodniks (during OIS4 ?), while the classic site of La Micoque should be excluded from any discussion, because it may be substantially older.

Classic MTA Handaxes were also found also East of the Rhine River (Selm-Ternsche, Haltern, Bocholt, Heimsen in Westphalia; Lenderscheid, Wahlen, Röhrsheim in Hessen; Scheden in Lower Saxony).

At the Hessian sites, MTA handaxes co-occur with typical Micoquian tools (Keilmesser, Faustkeilblätter, and Blattspitzen).

Although these ensembles were not found in an intact stratigraphy up to now, this association near other sites with “pure” Micoquian ensembles ( for example: Buhlen upper settlement place) remains remarkable and indicates that “mixed ensembles” are not confined to the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France.

But contrary to the W-European sites these “mixed ensembles” were found within “heartland” of the Middle European Micoquian. One of the problems with these ensembles is the fact, that we do not know for sure, if they really represent contemporary artifact associations and if they were contemporaneous to “pure” Micoquian ensembles.

Various Paleolithic artifacts from N- Hessen are shown in the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Kassel– worthwhile for a visit if you ever come to Kassel in Northern Hessen.

Figure 3
The last two pictures display Bifacial Foliates from Röhrsheim (Figure 2) and Keilmesser from Buhlen (Figure 3) as displayed in the Museum (with permission from the MLK).

The Foliates are similar to the large MSA Foliates of Central Africa (Lupemban–Complex), as early noticed by Lutz Fiedler - one of the few professionals discussing with collectors of stone tools.

The raw material of the Buhlen Keilmesser looks like Obsidian and has similar qualities. But it is “Kieselschiefer” from a nearby source.