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2020-03-20 09:46:15   •   ID: 2160

A Raclette from the Badegoulian at Laugerie haute

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This is a heavy patinated Raclette from the Badegoulian at Laugerie haute (Dordogne)- see also: 1268 . It has been made by a flat round flake with almost continuous abrupt retouches.

In general, a raclettes are usually made from flat flakes, more rarely from (intentionally) broken blades. The outlines are very variable and characterized by fine direct, but sometimes alternating, abrupt retouches more or less continuous over most of the circumference of the tool.

The first systematic description came 1930 from A Cheynier, who described raclettes from the Badegoule site (Dordogne)- see id 1268. He also pointed out that raclettes were already described under the name of a “lame grattoir” by H. Breuil (1902) and D Peyrony (1908) from Laugerie-Haute.

According to Bosselin and Djindjian’s analysis, four groups of lithic tool types of the Magdalenian in S/W-France could be found which possess a temporal significance.

The oldest group corresponds to an older Badegoulian with transversal burins and a low proportion of raclettes, while the second group corresponds to a younger Badegoulian and shows high proportions of raclettes.

Raclettes should not confused with thumbnail scrapers, which show neither a round circumference, nor continuous retouches. In addition they have a distal scraper cap and a non-worked base-see: 1445

Raclettes appeared much earlier in Central Europe, during the Micoquian / KMG- somtimes in large numbers-see: https://aggsbach.fossilserver.de/index.php?Edit&1524 . In the Polish Literature Middle Paleolithic Raclettes are called ”Grochakis". They are a characteristic element of the Middle European Keilmessergruppen (KMG; Middle European Micoquian), first noted in the Prodnik ensembles near Krakow by S Krukowski.

Similar to Upper Paleolithic Raclettes, they are made of oval or circular flakes with continuous or discontinuous semi abrupt or abrupt retouches, often referred by the Polish authors as "round scrapers“.

Some authors suggest, that they are more irregular, than their UP counterparts and tend to be more denticulated-but judging from what I have seen and what has published- I remain cautious.

In Germany such artifacts were first recognized by Bosinski and are called: flat flakes (1) Type Heidenschmiede (continuous retouche) or Type Balve (discontinuous retouche). Beside Balve and Heidenschmiede, in Germany such artifacts are known from the Neanderthal burial site and from the Schambach Micoquian.

Functional results from the Sesselfelsgrotte (Bavaria) are already available; although they should not be confused with the functional characteristics of later raclettes:

A use-wear analysis was carried out on the microliths (Richter 1997), which are comparable to pieces described as “raclettes” by Bordes (Bordes 1961). The flakes are never larger than about 2 cm and often have all-round retouch.

A total of 202 microlithic pieces from archaeological unit A01 up to A06 was examined microscopically. Forty-three specimens showed microwear traces, mainly polishes, determined as being caused by working soft, sometimes wood-like plant materials (Lass 1994)
(Rots 2014).

Middle Paleolithic items also appeared in different facies of the Mousterian in S/W-France, where they have been described by F. Bordes during the 1950ies.

Middle Paleolithic Raclettes are not confined to the Paleolithic of Europe, but sometimes appeared in the Levantine Levallois-Mousterian, for example at the Open-Air Site at Nesher Ramla (Late MIS6/ early MIS5) in Israel.

They are a component of the Non-Levallois Zagros Mousterien, as described by Deborah Olszewski.

In the Near East they generally are also found through the Upper Paleolithic-Epipaleolithic until the PPNA / B- Obviously a high valued tool!