2012-11-17

Re- use of Neolithic blade cores

In South Limburg and the surrounding area,  blade - core stones can be found with impressions of blade negatives. Similar core stones were  already used in the late Palaeolithic and especially by  the Magdalenian (from approximately 13,000 years ago). 
Neolithic blade -cores sometimes were discarded immediately ( see image 1) , since the  raw material was abundant. Some blade core negatives were secondary used as a hammerstone, visible by the battered surface.
Sometimes, however, the core stone has been re- used as a hand tool 

Secondary use of Neolithic stone core is easy to determine. Often we find two or three precise blows, for using the core, , leaving a small cove to fit in  the thumb and forefinger or  other fingers). This was obviously applied to blade-core stones where it was still a possibility to use them as a heavy scraper tool for decortification, etc. The used edge on the core is often showing a zig- zag pattern.
Schematic image of a blade core

Schematic image of a blade core , which has been used secondary as a tool A+B grip, C = sharpened edge

Unmodified blade core

Neolithic blade cores of Hesbaye type flint  from the Mt. St. Pierre, Belgium. The top left core is a renewed core, where the earlier platform had become  useless; top right we distinguish two parallel blows, which are not mistakes, though they look like hinges, but form a part of the grip on the core to use it again.
Sometimes Neolithic cores were transformed into some sort of 'axes' or adzes, while one side is pointed.
More blade cores from the region are presented at Arbannig Finds Neolithic flint cores

References/ Internet


American Anthropologist Volume 49, Issue 4, Article first published online: 28 Oct. 2009

Haskel J. Greenfield The secundary products revolution, the past, the presence and the future in world Arhcaeology 42 (1) 2010
Hirth, K. & Flenniken J.   Core blade technology in Mesoamarican Prehistory  article in PDF
Pelegrin J.  (2006) Long bladetechnology in the Old World: an experimental approachand some archaeological results, in :  Apel , J. & Knutsson, K[ed.]   Skilled Production and Social Reproduction Aspects of Traditional Stone-Tool Technologies Proceedings of a Symposium in Uppsala, August 20–24, 2003SAU Stone Studies 2 Uppsala 2006
De steentijd van Nederland

2012-11-15

The deceptive effect of eluvium flint

At a field not far from the well known "Kaap"of Eijsden, at a part of an area konwn as "Schelberg, northeast of Eijsden, artifacts made of different flint types, were found( see image below).
The first flint type was the black one, obvious the ( local)  Rijckholt flint -type.
Than the light grey flint type, which is more more granulated was noticed,  obvious the Hesbaye flint- type, as we know from Lanaye - St. Pietersberg1 and 2 at the other side of the Maas.
Another remarkable find were flakes and small tools made of  the Orsbach- Vetschau flint -type. A very translucent flint type was also found at this field.So four different flint types has been used to make the tools.
Because they all look Neolithic, the first conclusion would be, these flint types were transported as nodules  from the original mining locations ( see for an oversight of these mining locations the regional lithograph library at this blog.
But here is the deceptive effect. All these flint types, except for the translucent flint,  once belonged to the local cretaceous bedrock. They belonged either to the chalk of  Lanaye  ( the origin of the Rijckholt flint) or to  the chalk of Lixhe.The dissolved chalk ( almost certainly dissolved by the river Maas that flew over the St. Geertruid terrace, more than 900.000 years ago) brought the flint types together in a palimpsest at the field. Prehistoric toolmakers used all kinds of  flint types, to make their tools.

In this way, the eluvium flint of the Banholtergrubbe was used by the early Neolithic farmers ( Brounen & Peeters 2000/2001)  but it is more likely slopes with exposed eluvium flint were well known by Palaeolithic and the (Late-) Mesolithic hunter- gathers.
The translucent flint type is most likely a fluvial flint, as we find  the gravels mixed together with the eluvium flint.
The evidence for such a palimpsest of  eluvium- flint was formed by a fossilized sea urchin found at the same field, at the location of the artifacts. Recognizable sea urchins are a regular part of eluvium flint, so are belemnites.
This sea -urchin is of the Orsbach black- white flint type.

- Flint from an elvium at Schelberg 1. Rijckholt flint type, 2 Orsbach - Vetschau flint type ( var grey) 3. Hesbaye flint type. 4 Translucent brownish fluvial flint
Side view at the very altered sea urchin found near Rijckholt at the Schelberg, at an altitude of ca + 85 m.

- The bottom of the sea urchin showing the black/ white flint of the Orsbach -Vetschau type.
Retouched small flakes and  a small blade, possible Late -Mesolithic tools from the Schelberg, near Eijsden.
South of the Dutch community of Libeek at the Belgium border we find the Hoogbos. Here we find an elvium  flint type  with flint that has the same appearence like the Orsbach flint. Indeed, as this Orsbach type flint always  is looking  very fresh (compared to other flint types at the same location) , we probably deal with same elvium flint like at Eyserheide ( Sano, 2010), but in a later period ( between the late Magdalenian and the early Neolithic).  The eroded slopes of the Hoogbos area ( north south and west parts) were searched  by Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunters. At these locations, where eluvium flint artifacts are visible, we also find microliths from the Mesolithic.
This would suggest, the search for microliths could best be focused at gravel rich fields and fields that contain eluvium flint. It is has been noticed by the author, microliths from the Mesolithic are abundant in the region, but scattered ( often we only find a few microliths together).
Finds like these underline the importance of knowledge of all flint sources in the region and the knowledge about the local eluvium flint locations.
.
References

Bless, M.J.M. & Felder S, ( 1989) Notes on the late cretaceous of Hockai (Hautes FagnesNE Belgium) PDF  Annales de la Sociét;e Géologiede Belgique T 112/  47- 56

Bridgland, D.R. & Allen, P., (1996)  A revised model for terrace formation and its significance for the early Middle Pleistocene terrace aggradations of north-east Essex, England. In: Turner, C. (ed.): The early Middle Pleistocene in Europe. Balkema (Rotterdam): 121-134. 

Brounen, F.T.S., & H. Peeters (2000/2001) Vroeg-neolithische vuursteenwinning en -bewerking in de Banholtergrubbe (Banholt, gem. Margraten), Archeologie 10, 133-150.
Buurman, P.; Jongmans, A.G.; Broekhuizen, J.; Miedema, R. ( 1985) Genesis of the flint eluvium and related beds in South Limburg, The Netherlands;       Geol. Mijnbouw 64 (1985) 89-102  Laboratorium voor Bodemkunde en geologie (Laboratory of Soil Science and Geology)
Ham R. van der  (2000)  Zee-egels uit het vuursteeneluvium van Zuid-Limburg, de Voerstreek en hetAachener Wald PDF article in Dutch, Grondboor en Hamer 5
Sano, K.  (2010) Lithic functional analysis in :  [ Rensink, E.] Eysderheide, a Magdalenian open -air site in the loess area of the Netherlands and its archaeological context  Faculty of Archaeology Leiden  Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 42

 








2012-11-13

Mesolithic finds near Bruisterbosch (Limburg)

At a field near Bruisterbosch, ( location in the Community of  Eijsden -Margraten )  named "BR2",  an eroded surface is visible, where small gravels ( cross-cut ca. <4 cm) are exposed in the loess.
This uncovered part of the field gives an opportunity to have an insight in possible  pre- Neolithic activities at this location.
Indeed, at a surface of ca. 20 x 20 meters, a limited number ( ca. 20) of small  flint tools were detected.
The flint tools comprise retouched blade negatives and small ( retouched) bladelets and micro-  flakes.
Some larger flint objects were found, one being a side scraper (with  patina) and another a core tool, used for producing flakes..
Limited numbers of flint tools could  be interpret as a short term hunting  / activity camp.
The idea is,  that a number of activities carried out here, possibly are related to a small site near the  Banholt flint mine, ca 3 km further, because  at another field, BR4, also a very limited number of (possible) Mesolithic flint implements were found ( within a small bladelet core).

- core types at BR2, retouched at the edges
-Retouched flint implements from BR2

-Location BR4  is a field located near a large depression, oriented to the southwest.

 At the filed BR4 an eroded part  at a hillslope ( with a spheric gradient suggesting this eroded surface existed already during late -Glacial conditions ) shows gravels in combination with dissolved flint.These pleistocene gravels are  containing small numbers of flakes, made of different types of flint, varying between the Hesbaye flint  from Belgium ( imported (?) (1) , flint of Anixhe/ Liers, Belgium with the typical patina  (imported) (2)  local Banholt/ Rijkcholt flint (3)  and a translucent flint type, most likely from fluviatile origine (4)- see image below.


 It is quite well possible these tools were made and used  during the period between the pre-boreal and the earliest LBK in the region. This would indicate the presence of a number of  surface- mining locations in the wider region of Banholt/ Bruisterbosch/ Termaar, located at during the (pre-) Neolithic already exposed hillslopes motly located around/ along the old affluents of the brook that passes by Libeek more to the south. 
This could be an expanding area for the flint mine activites related with the  location at the Banholtergrubbe ( Brounen & Peeters, 1999).
When we look at the vegetation and the landscape during this long period we see between 7250 BC and ca 6650 BC the rise of the hazel - alder bush ( in a so called association of the Alnus-Ulmion), right before the spread of the limetrees in the area ( Janssen, 1960, Bunnik 1999).  
The different types of flint indicate however an early Neolithic period with contacts with the other side of the Maas river ( Lanaye, Liers- Tilice) and this could underline the early LBK date.At a field BR 2, not far from the village of Margraten, two cores waere found, possibly belonging to this early LBK phase, as they look similar to cores found near the Banholtergrubbe.( see image below).
In this case,it is quite well possible, the Banholt area was not only used for the extraction of the local flint, but was already  inhabited by the earliest LBK.  

- Core 1 and 2  from the location BR2, show blade negatives ( < 7cm). Core 3 is found at BR4 and has been secondary used as a hamerstone, for the possibly for production of small flakes, which has been found at the same location.
 
References /internet

Brounen, F.T.S.& H. Peeters (2000/2001) Vroeg-neolithische vuursteenwinning en -bewerking in de Banholtergrubbe (Banholt, gem. Margraten), Archeologie 10, 133-150.
Bunnik, F.P.M. (1999) Vegetationsgeschichte der Lößbörden zwischen Rhein und Maasvon
der Bronzezeit bis in die frühe Neuzeit. Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology. Utrecht University. Utrecht. pp. 1-149.
Janssen, C. R. (1960) On the late-glacial and post-glacial vegetation of South Limburg (Netherlands).
Amsterdam, North-Holland Pub. Co., 1960. Wentia, 4.