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2022-09-29 12:07:33   •   ID: 2351

Handaxes from Croisilles – Les Fours à Chaux in the Normandie

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These are two representative Handaxes from the surface, found in 1974 at Croisilles in the Orne Valley (Normandie / France)- a small town with about 200 inhabitants today.

When I visited the north of France for the first time in 1974 I visited a lot of historical and prehistoric landmarks in the area.

Not only did I learn a lot about the liberation of West Europe by the Western Allied Forces in 1944, but had also the opportunity to visit some of the rich Palaeolithic surface sites.

Such sites were not interesting for archeologists at that time. Their value was only recognised during the last decennia.

Abundant prehistoric lithic material on the surface near the old lime kilns in the commune of Croisilles was known to local collectors since the 1940s. The kilns in this part of the countryside were built since the beginning of the Second Empire to produce lime for the amendment of agricultural land.

The deposit at Croisilles is located at the upstream end of a valley tributary of the right bank of the Orne, a coastal river that is deeply embedded in the Precambrian shale and sandstone bedrock.

Beside predominant Neolithic material, Handaxes and Middle Paleolithic debitage is known from the locality.

The Paleolithic artefacts are characterized by medium sized Handaxes (10-17 cm long in my small collection), made from local bluish Flint with a thick white Patina. Many of the Handaxes have a globular ("massifom") appearance.

Typologically and from a French perspective, the Bifaces are more reminiscent of the Acheulian than the Middle Paleolithic but in my opinion they are also very similar to the Handaxes of the German Micoquian of the North European Plain (Salzgitter and Lichtenberg for example) -see: 1599

The cores illustrate different concepts of raw material processing, with surface management debitage, often centripetal, conducted according to Discoid and Levallois Methods. The tools on the flakes include a few simple scrapers.

Collectors drew the attention of professional archaeologists to the locality, a few years ago, and a survey of the site, was carried out. On geological grounds the Middle Paleolithic at Croisilles was quite securely placed around 50-55 k.a., at the end of the Lower Pleniglacial, MIS 4, and the beginning of the Middle Pleniglacial, MIS 3, before the arrival of the great cold (Cliquet et al. 2015).

The artifacts shown in this post are clearly different from other Middle Paleolithic findings from the area, which predominantly belong to the Bifacial Mousterian of N/W-France- see here: 1179 , 1501 , here 1665 , here: 1250 , 1585 , and here: 1077

Provenance: Collection Perez

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