Chopping tool from the Pointe-aux-Oies site

wimereux aggsbach1 wimereux aggsbach3Typical 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:



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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.

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8 Responses to Chopping tool from the Pointe-aux-Oies site

  1. On my site you can see many artifacts founded in WIMEREUX where i live, the same tools like those founded in CLACTON ON SEA.You will see stranges cores.
    Thanks for this site. Excuse my english.

  2. Katzman says:

    Thank you very much, but your site seems not to be available…(?)

  3. BELART Charles says:

    Excuse me there is two adress , i give you an other
    the name of my site is”” industries lithiques de wimereux””
    “la pointe aux oies ” is in WIMEREUX.
    there is an other
    “”curiosités lithiques à WIMEREUX” ”( curious core in WIMEREUX”
    the address is paleoart ( not the same that mr RICHARD WILSON )

  4. Katzman says:

    Dear Charles,
    Very nice page, displaying a lot of well presented variants from this famous site!

  5. Ber says:

    Spoiler warning! Just like several archaeologists and geologist working in that area I am not aware of convincing evidence that the huge numbers of Pointe aux Oies artifacts are palaeolithic at all! On the cliff there is plenty of Neolithic. The geological context/origin of the artifacts is unclear. — Ber

  6. Katzman says:

    A Tuffreau suggests, that the oldest industry of North of France is certainly the Wimereux industry which includes many choppers and chopping-tools. This chopping tool, worked from both sides and not a simple chopper was found in-situ and was not connected with any Neolithic material.

  7. Sittipron says:

    Thanks for an interesting weibste. I do feel that you are under-representing Southern Africa, perhaps because the Northern stone age has been studied and excavated in much more detail. Archaeology is after all a Northern invention. Are you aware of Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa? In the cave’s stratigraphy there is a complete succession of hearths and artifacts from the (arguably) Oldovan to 100 years ago. Datings are coming in and are in many cases surprisingly precocious (eg prepared core tools from over 1MYA.) There are two papers due, one in Current Anthropology by Peter Beaumont, and another in Nature by Michael Chazan which will throw very interesting light on the evolution of stone tool making. And there’s a hearth there that’s right at bedrock.

  8. Valeria says:

    I simply watned to thank you for the time you have committed to providing a frequently updated blog based on stone tool technology. As as undergraduate in Archaeology, I appreciate this procrastination medium!Many thanks and best wishes,-Brendan, Canada

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