This is a Quina scraper made of high quality flint, found near Mattinata in the Gargano together with a pure Quina Mousterian ensemble. The scraper combines a scraping edge, covered with a „Retouche écailleuses scalariforme“ and an a oposite edge, allowing a handhold use or the hafting of the artifact. Intentional backing of stone tools in Europe was known since the Acheulian (http://www.aggsbach.de/2013/08/backed-handaxe-from-remi-sur-creuse-france/).
Neanderthals successfully colonized the Italian peninsula, coping with different ecotones / niches and climates during a considerable time since the Middle Pleistocene. As already known from Northern France, Middle Paleolithic industries and regional differentiation of the lithic industries in Italy appeared long before the last interglacial (http://www.aggsbach.de/2014/06/handaxe-from-montieres-and-the-diversification-of-the-paleolithic-in-n-france-during-mis-8/). They are assigned to a late Acheulian with or without a Levallois component rare in bifaces (Pagicci in Apulia, Torre in Pietra-Level D [Rome], Levallois- Acheulian of the N/E-loess belt; http://www.aggsbach.de/2013/08/gragano-homo-heidelbergensis-was-here/).
Quina Mousterian sites in Europe are usually dated to MIS 4 and early MIS 3. Technologically and typologically, Quina ensembles are chacterized by the near total absence of Levallois technology and are dominated by single side-scrapers and transverse scrapers and Limaces with typical Quina type, stepped retouch. At the type site La Quina (Charente) large transversal scrapers up to 20 cm long with invasive retouches, called by Henri Martin: “hachoirs” are present. Many of them are made on bifacial blanks, although their frequency may be exaggerated by a selection bias from older collections. The so called Bola stones, while not abundant, are well known from the Quina Mousterian and are also present in the Quina levels at Combe-Grenal and Chez-Pinaud Jonzac. Based on the probable traces of impact on their most prominent points, their size and their weight, it seems likely that they may have served as hammer stones. Such items are only known from the French South-West.
In Italy, the Quina technological system in was dominant during the “Pontinian” in the Latium region where the raw material consisted of small flint pebbles of excellent knapping quality. While the Levallois technique was prevalent in the North-East, in Southern Italy where good quality raw materials were scare, the Quina system of knapping was omnipresent. The Gargano is an exception, because high quality chert was always available during OIS4/3. The Levallois technique is attested at Piani di San Vito (an open air site) and the Grotta di Spagnoli (a cave site) and at many non-stratified sites in the region. On the other hand, excellent raw material does not preclude the use of a pure Quina system, as shown by surface findings from an open air site at the Monte Sacro (north of Mattinata). At this locality a classic Quina ensemble was found during 30 years of meticulous surface collection. The Quina scraper shown here is one example from this site.