Typical chopping tool from the Pointe-aux-Oies site near Boulogne. Bifacial retouches create a wide working edge with an ergonomic grip for the hand on the opposite side, which is covered by the original pebble-cortex with a orange-creamy-grey-white patination. I suggest, that this item is certainly no geofact. A hot topic in the debates about European prehistory during the last decades was the first occupation of North Europe by early humans. Until recently a short chronology was used, suggesting no human settlement in N/W-Europe before 500 k.a. But the times-they are changing:
In the UK, 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. 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 coped both with Mediterranean-type climate (Pakefield) and temperate and cool temperate climates with mosaic habitats (Happisburgh) as well.
Evidence for very Early Paleolithic industries with an in situ context indicates that Hominins were even present in the center of France at around 1.1 Ma (At 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. After a gap of several 100 k.a. ensembles with handaxes appear in the Middle Loire Basin in the interval between 700 and 600 k.a., and then continuously from 400 k.a.
With these discoveries, some presumable early Paleolithic industries in Northern France maybe re-introduced in the discussion. One of these sites is the Pointe-aux-Oies, Wimereux (near Boulogne-N/W-France. Here, thousand of artifacts with an archaic appearence (Chopper, Chopping Tools, Protobifaces), whithout stratigraphic or contextual informations have been collected on the beach and ascribed to the early paleolithic. On the topic of the dunes, close with the beach where the artifacts were found, rich Neolithic sites are also present. These neolithic artefacts were also manufactered from flint cores derived from the beach and show a very similar state of patination. In Summary the existence of a very old Paleolithic at Wimereux is highly probable but has not been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. The chopping tools could also be waste from testing flint nodules during the Neolithic.
A “Pebble Tool” fro Kassel:
For a critical view on early industries in Europe before the discovery of Atapuerca and Pakefield:
Some remarks about Chopping tools at the Portuguese Atlantic facade: