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2019-06-15 14:01:08   •   ID: 2107

The Earliest Middle Paleolithic at St. Acheul (Amiens)

Figure 1
Figure 2
This is a rather small Handaxe (10 cm long) found as early as 1874 at St. Acheul-it was former Part of the Evans and Dewey collection. The morphology of this artifact is not typical for the Lower Paleolithic around Amiens.

The Amiens Region provides a deep stratigraphy between MIS 15- MIS 3. The last Acheulian with elongated and pointed handaxes was found in the “limon fendillé” (Sol de Rocourt; Last Interglacial; MIS 5e).

According to V. Commont, the oldest Middle Paleolithic at St Acheul was present in the gravels between the “limon fendillé” and the lower sandy “ergeron” a greyish loam (« limon gris de Ladriere; Sol de Warneton»)- therefore after MIS5e and before MIS4.

The “egeron” has been identified as representing MIS 5c (Brörup interstadial)- the first phase of climatic improvement of the beginning of the Weichselian glacial, characterized by the formation of a grey forest soil under a boreal forest- and MIS 5a (Ødderade interstadial)-a temperate interstadial, characterized by the formation of a second grey forest soil.

This Middle Paleolithic is currently designed as a Mousterian of Acheulean tradition and includes Mousterian Points and scrapers together with many Levallois flakes which are not retouched.

The handaxes are of different morphology: Commont described wonderful flat cordiform and triangular items similar to others in N-France (St Juste en Chaussee, Catigny, Marcoing…) but also smaller Bifaces, similar to the Bifacial Mousterien in the Orne Region and thicker and cruder forms, like the one that is shown in this post.

According to the associated fauna (Mammoth, Reindeer...), Commont called this part of the sequence: “Mousterien ancient a faune froide”.

It is clearly not the first Middle Paleolithic in the Amiens area: At Montières, see: 1627 , 1519 , 2059 , Victor Commont in 1912 described a Middle Paleolithic assemblage, produced from Levallois flakes, which included numerous elongated blades made by a volumetric technique and pointed handaxes.

This ensemble is attributed to MIS 7 associated with a temperate fauna and represents one of the earliest Middle Palaeolithic of continental north-west Europe with a volumetric laminar débitage.