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2020-03-14 18:22:19   •   ID: 2157

Riesenklingen and Tanged Points: the Latest Epipaleolithic of the N-European Plain

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
This is an Epipaleolithic surface ensemble from the Warder See region near Bad Oldesloe in Schleswig-Holstein; N-W Germany.

It consists of an Ahrensburgian Point (seen on Figure 2 and 3), small Endscrapers, Burins on truncation and truncated small blades (Figure 1,2,3)-maybe preforms of Zonhoven points. In addition we see a typical "Giant Point" (Riesenklinge; 12,5 cm long) (Figure 4 ,5, 6). Microliths (Zonhoven Points) are not present, maybe by sampling bias of this old collection from the 1950ies.

Such Epipaleolithic ensembles are known from S-England and N-Germany and called Eggstedt-Stellmoor-Gruppe of the Ahrensburgian in Germany, Belloisien in the Paris Basin and northern France up to Brittany and long Blade ensembles in the Netherlands and Belgium.

They are usually dated to the younger Dryas- the latest manifestation of the Palaeolithic in North/West Europe.

The relationship of Ahrensburgian and Belloisian sites is not well understood. While traditionally Ahrensburgian sites may be considered as short Hunting camps with traces of fire, microlithic projectile points, a lot of tanged points, and a few large Blades, the Belloisian shows no or very few burnt objects, abundant debitage remains, Riesenklingen, few retouched tools, and almost no tanged Points.

In contrast microlithic projectiles may be abundant and long sequences of knapping activities for the production of long and very thin Blades are present. There is a high a degree of post-excavation refittings. Belloisian sites may have been butchering or workshop sites.

Figure 4
The lithic industries of this kind are characterized by large, well-made blades struck from bipolar cores. Typically these assemblages include heavily edge- damaged artefacts, known as "bruised blades" or "lames mâchurées"- also seen in this post.

It has been suggested that they were utilized for chopping hard organic materials such as antler and bone, or curating sandstone hammers.

In the UK, long-blade ensembles are known from  for S/E-Britain and East Anglia mainly in floodplain or river valleys close to the sources of high quality in situ flint. They are sometimes associated with atypical tanged points ("Epi-Ahrensburg-like").

Recent studies have highlighted the sparse evidence of human occupation in Britain during the Younger Dryas. The majority of evidence comes from the end of the stadial and is often typified by assemblages dominated by long-blade technology.

In Nothern Germany, “Riesenklingen” were usually associated to the Ahrensburgian technocomplex. In the Netherlands the most important site remains Zonhoven (see the Monograph in the attached files).

First findings in North France go back to the begin of the last century and were first published by V. Commont.  

While tanged points are rare, large blades are combined with other microlitic projectiles (Pointes à troncatures obliques concaves, Pointes à troncatures obliques,Pointes à dos microlithiques, Pointes à Zonhoven à base tronquée-also called pointe de Malaurie).

An important site, excavated and published during the last years is Buhot, near Calleville (see attached files).