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2022-11-07 08:32:47   •   ID: 2357

Abbeville Menchecourt: An important historical Prehistoric site.

Figure 1
This is thin, twisted, elongated and ovalaire, 17-cm long Biface from Menchencourt / Abbeville in the Somme valley- see here: 2275 , here: 2107 , here: 1306 , here: 2059 , here: 1627 , here: 2335 and here: 1201 . According to F. Bordes this Handaxe may be called a Limande by its rounded ends at both sides and a certain elongation.

Menchecourt is located north of the town of Abbeville, at the confluence of the Somme and one of its right bank tributaries, the Scardon. It is located on a terrace of the Somme that was exploited as a source of sand, silt and gravel in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Menchecourt sand pit has been scientifically known since the end of the 18th century for its paleontological remains collected by researchers from the Abbeville society of Emulation.

Menchecourt became one of the major prehistoric sites in Abbeville in the mid-nineteenth century and was successively studied for its archaeological finds by Jacques Boucher de Perthes from 1837 and by Joseph Preswitch in 1859 , the site playing a fundamental role in the recognition of the coexistence of Man and extinct animal species and the Prehistoric period.

After the death of Boucher de Perthes in 1868, Geoffroy d'Ault du Mesnil ensured the archaeological follow-up until the end of the 19th century. In 1889, during the Paris World's Fair, he made Menchecourt one of the eponymous sites that allowed him to define the cultures of the prehistoric classification that he was proposing at the time, for a period, the Menchecourian, that d'Ault placed chronologically between the Mousterian and Magdalenian and that was characterized by the presence of "blades, points, scrapers and knives" (Bahain et al. 2019).

In the last quarter of the 19th century, the exploitation of the sand pit, which was no longer economically profitable, was abandoned and the plots concerned were used for the construction of a sugar factory and forgotten for a long time.

The Menchecourt historical survey, published in 2021, demonstrated that Pleistocene deposits, both were still preserved and more important confirmed the presence of several archaeological and paleontological levels within this sequence. The Menchecourt site is located on the +15 m nappe III of Antoine's system (1990).The ESR-Ti-Li ages obtained gave mean age of 245 ± 21 k.a. , in good aggrement with its chrono-climatic attribution (Bahain et al. 2019). Although new archaeological material was not found during the new soundings, the site still offers excellent conditions for future research.

The Handaxe shown here has almost exact counterparts in the Collection of Geoffroy d'Ault du Mesnil (Bahain et al. 2019, Figure 3).

Both on geo-chronological grounds and results of an advanced dating program, the locality has a high affinity to other sites in Northern France such as Montières. Here, Commont in 1912 described a Middle Paleolithic assemblage, produced from Levallois flakes, which included numerous elongated blades and (pointed) handaxes- see: 1627

Suggested Reading:

Mark J. White: A Global History of The Earlier Palaeolithic- Assembling the Acheulean World, 1673–2020s; 2022.


Meller Family Collection

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