Chopper from Praia da Agudan

portugalochopperSeveral sites on the Portuguese littoral (Acafora, Magoito, Praia da Aguda, Laredo das Corchas, and Leifio) are said to be Lower Pleistocene, but their real age is uncertain. They were enthusiastically collected, mainly by amateurs, following the first publications about the “Oldowan Industry” in East Africa . Especially  the great L.S.B. Leaky  did much to make Choppers and Chopping Tools popular for a wider audience after the 1930ies.

Suggested dating (200-600 k.a BP) of the choppers in Portugal, which are surface finds with no stratigraphic context, was solely based on their archaic appearance. Many of these pieces may be in fact geofacts. After the  findings at the Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain , there is no doubt that the lower Paleolithic of the Iberian Peninsula is very old. Some influential scholars have argued that the first human colonization of Europe would have been episodic, at least until the early Middle Pleistocene (“short chronology”). However, there is now increasingly evidence from S/W-England, Spain and Italy favoring the hypothesis that Western Europe was occupied for the first time over a million years ago.

The earliest fossil hominid remains in Europe, from around 780 k.a BP or older were found in the Gran Dolina, layer TD6, a site in the Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain. At Level TD-6 the micromammal species represent the late Biharian (Mimomys savini zone), and the lithic artifacts exhibit a Mode-1 technology. The origin of the TD-6 hominins is unknown, but they may represent a speciation event from Homo ergaster/Homo erectus. In addition along with the Atapuerca TD6 site, the BL and FN3 sites in the Orce basin, dated here as older than 780 k.a BP and probably older than 1.07 Ma and the newly discovered Vallparadís site (Barcelona, Spain), dated from the upper boundary of the Jaramillo subchron.  In S/W-England, the Pakefield site, discovered in 2005, gave evidence for an secured early date of 700 k.a (MIS 17or late MIS 19).  The Happisburgh Site 3 (HSB3), is dated to ca. 850 or possibly ca. 950 k.a. BP. Together with a mode-1 industry, Happisburgh has the earliest evidence of hominin footprints outside Africa, dating to between ca. 1 and 0.78 My with estimated body dimensions that fall within the range of the evidence from Homo antecessor fossils. Environmental data show, that our ancestors in England coped both with Mediterranean-type climate (Pakefield) and temperate and cool temperate climates with mosaic habitats (Happisburgh) as well. The Pirro Nord site, situated at the north-western margin of the Gargano promontory in Apulia, close to the village of Apricena was dated between 1.3 and 1.6 Ma on a bichronological basis. Pirro Nord became important by the discovery of an unequivocal Mode-1 industry. The reduction sequences at this site were always short and opportunistic, finalized to obtain flakes that were only rarely retouched.

Evidence for Early Palaeolithic industries with an in situ context indicates that Hominins were allready present on the European continent  in the center of France around 1.1 Ma (Pont-de-Lavaud in the Creuse Valley, Lunery in the Cher Valley and Saint-Hilaire-la-Gravelle in the Loire Valley). At Lunery, for example, ca. 500 pieces have been collected and can be related to a human action. At these early sites, Hominids are present in deposits that relate to the beginning and end of cold Periods. This Evidence and data from other early Paleolithic European sites now clearly indicate that Hominids reached the latitude of 45 N and indeed further north towards eastern England during warm and temperate episodes.

 A  critical view of these “archaic findings”:

About Atapuerca:

About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome! About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University. Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.
This entry was posted in Plaeolithics and Neolithics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Chopper from Praia da Agudan

  1. Frans Somers says:

    I do know Leiden is very sceptical about their own old paleolithic.
    This piece is a good piece : as there many good ones found in Portugal, Spain, France and even in the Netherlands.

  2. L. Jimmy Groen says:

    This looks like a real pebble tool. The patina on the flaked surface looks equally; this suggests a simultaneously operation. It’s better to collect them and find information than leave them for fear to bring in a geofact.
    Very nice website!

  3. Excellent goods from you, man. Chopper from Praia da Agudan | Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific Chopper from Praia da Agudan | Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog informations.

  4. Holger Groß says:

    Some of the quartzite tools collected in Portugal may be geofacts. Many pieces, however, are real artifacts that are much older than science thinks.
    I believe that early hominids have reached about 1,000,000 BC or somewhat later during a cold phase across the Strait of Gibraltar to the Iberian Peninsula. The findings of Atapuerca are for me an indication.
    Also the archaic seemingly choppers like Mode 1 from Montserraz and Minho could support this theory. I think it is much older than previously thought. Above all, I do not regard them as the backdrop of the Kökkenmöddinger settlers on the coast from the Mesolithic. I hope that clear stratigraphic findings and organic notes will confirm the old age of these ancient artifacts from Portugal.
    Thanks to Aggsbach’s Paleolithic blog for the great information on this topic.

    Einige der in Portugal aufgesammelten Quarzit-tools mögen geofacts sein. Viele Stücke sind aber echte Artefakte, die wesentlich älter sind, als die Wissenschaft meint.
    Ich glaube, dass frühe Hominiden etwa um 1.000.000 BC oder etwas später während einer Kaltphase über die Straße von Gibraltar auf die iberische Halbinsel gelangt sind. Die Funde von Atapuerca sind für mich ein Indiz dafür.
    Auch die archaisch scheinenden Chopper wie Mode 1 aus Montserraz und Minho könnten diese Theorie stützen. Ich halte sie nämlich für wesentlich älter als bisher angenommen. Vor allem halte ich sie nicht für die Hinterlassenschaft der an der Küste siedelnden Kökkenmöddinger aus dem Mesolithikum. Ich hoffe, dass irgendwann eindeutige stratigraphische Befunde und organische Beifunde das hohe Alter dieser altertümlichen Artefakte aus Portugal bestätigen.
    Vielen Dank an Aggsbach’s Paleolithic blog für die tollen Informationen zu diesem Thema.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *