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2018-11-12 16:32:21   •   ID: 2051

Flexible Stones: The Anatomy of a Middle Paleolithic Tool

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
This is a large (13x8x0,1-2,5 cm) non Levallois flake with several active units and one passive unit- a field find from 1982 near Lenderscheid / Northern Hesse in Germany, already introduced in this Blog for its Middle Paleolithic triangular Handaxes, Leafpoints, Levallois and non-Levallois debitage.

Lenderscheid-A Middle Paleolithic Workshop in Central Germany: see here 1624 , here 1712 , 2027 , and here: 1625 .

Many, non-expedient, Middle Paleolithic stone tools were multifunctional. A scraper could be used for grinding activities. A biface could use for different tasks (defleshing activities, hammering, scraping soft materials and perhaps even for fire making).

A Biface was sometimes a core for the detachment of sharp flakes or had one edge selectively usable as a scraper (biface support d’outil): see 1305

Multi-functionality could be primarily intended by the knapper or being a part of a retooling or reworking process.

The Middle Paleolithic artifact shown here is interesting for its different functional units.

Firstly it is a concave scraper with continuous course denticulation made on the dorsal side of the artifact (Figure 1).

Secondly it has a still sharp broad tranchet blow on the distal portion of its dorsal face (Figure 2). It is one of the rare Middle-European Cleavers.

Thirdly the right part, being the thickest region of the tool, near the bulb, shows backing and prehensile characteristics. Consequently the back is contralateral to the scraping Edge.

Therefore the backed artifact could be used as a backed scraper for various activities, without the necessity of a hafting device.

The intentionally created cutting edge was ready for use and still razor sharp after 40-80 k.a. ago (Figure 3).