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2020-01-23 15:26:08   •   ID: 2147

Black Middle Palaeolithic Flint Handaxe

Figure 1
This is a black elongated Handaxe from NRW, found in 1944 near Essen. It has some affinities to Iate Acheulian Bifaces from the Seine Valley and to the so called unifacial „Herne-Spitzen“ (see below).

Since 1911, middle Paleolithic clusters were detected in the southern Munster embayment and the Ruhr region in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

They usually were incorporated in river sediments, the so called “Knochen- Kiese”, part of the lower river terraces of Emscher, Lippe and Ems and their tributaries. These sediments are currently dated to MIS4 and exhibit numerous faunal remains of the mammoth steppe.

Here, I will only mention a limited number of key-sites

Herne: During construction work for the Rhein-Herne Chanel, E. Kahrs found over a limited area of ca 5 square meters an ensemble , made from dark / black Flint: a elongated / lanceolate Handaxe 11 cm long, two unique triangular Levallois flakes covered with unifacial retouch on their dorsal side (called by Bosinski: „Herner Spitzen“), one triangular, non backed bifacial scraper together with small cordiform handaxes and some unifacial Levallois tools.

For me it remains a mystery why this small ensemble is designated as KMG/Micoquian by several authors. Not a single diagnostic KMG- tool is present....

A gravel pit at Warendorf-Neuwarendorf on the other hand, showed a clearly Micoquian / KMG Character of ca 50 artifacts, again associated with the Knochenkies-horizon. The findings were made in association with the remains of a Neanderthal (a right os parietale). A C-14 date of 31 k.a. seems to be not reliable.

Other KMG ensembles associated with the Knochenkiese are for example : Bottrop, Greven-Bockholt, and Wadersloh.

Please note that most strata from the Balver Höhle- the corner stone of Middle Paleolithic stratigraphy in NRW, revealed a rich Micoquian followed by a Levallois-Moustierian.

The Feldhofer Grotte in the Neanderthal-the find-spot of Fulroths Neanderthal-also showed a rich Micoquian ensemble. It seems that the KMG-groups were fairly widespread in NRW.

For me, the most fascinating ensembles in NRW are characterized by relatively small Cordiform and sub-triangular Handaxes-the most prominent ensembles come from Haltern and Ternsche.

Some Haltern find-spots also revealed bifacial scrapers and a lot of Levallois material. As surface findings from a former military training area, the assemblages may be heavily mixed.

Anyhow it remains remarkable to find such Handaxes in only 150 Km distance from the next MTA at Sainte-Walburge, Liège, Belgium.

Suggested Reading:

Bosinski, G. Die mittelpaläolithischen Funde im westlichen Mitteleuropa. Fundamenta A/4. Köln & Graz. (1967)

Günter: K. Alt- und mittelsteinzeitliche Fundplätze in Westfalen, Teil 1 + Teil 2.(1986, 1988)

Günther, K. Die altsteinzeitlichen Funde der Balver Höhle. Bodenaltertümer Westfalens 8. Münster. (1964)

Baales M : Westfalen in der Alt- und Mittelsteinzeit (2014)

Gripp, K, Schwabedissen H, Schütrumpf R: Frühe Menschheit und Umwelt. Teil I, Archäologische Beiträge. Fundamenta - Monographien zur Urgeschichte Reihe A Band 2 (1970)

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