Swiderian Arrowhead made of chocolate flint

The Swiderian is recognized as a distinctive Eastern European culture of Reindeer hunters during the Dryas III contemporaneous with the Ahrensburgian  and late Bromme Complex. Allthough orientated to the East, the Swiderian also extended to North/Western Europe.  Recent radiocarbon dates showed that some groups of the Swiderian-Ahrensburgian Complex persisted into the Preboreal. The Swiderian developed on the sand dunes left behind by the retreating glaciersembracing the areas of Poland, Lithuania, the Polessye Lowlands, White and Central Russia and the Ukraine, mainly along the Vistula, Niemen and Pripet valleys.

The type-site is Świdry Wielkie in Poland.The diagnostic artifact is a tanged arrowhead (Sawicki’s “Swiderian blade”). They were skillfully struck off from slim, one- or two-base cores. The bulb of percussion is usually entirely removed and the tang is covered with flat, inverse retouch. The blades are long and narrow, often in the form of a willow leaf. The tang may be symmetrical or asymmetrical with a pointed or wide base. Beside these arrowheads, the lithic material is dominated by endscrapers and simple (diedre) burins.

Though the Ahrensburgian and Swiderian tradititions had the same roots, they were principally different from each other regarding the production of arrowheads. To obtain a Swiderian point the focus of attention was payed to the primary stone working, and the subsequently retouching of the tool blank was only of an auxiliary role and did not change the blank form very much. In contrast, the Ahrensburgian, Bromme and Krasnoselye retouching was deeply invasive and secondarily applied to comparably rough and imperfect flakes and blades.

The preferred raw materials of the Swiderian people in Poland were large nodules of the best varieties of Jurassic and the chocolate flint from the Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross) Mountains in Central Poland. Use of the chocolate flint by Swiderian groups is of particular interest: flint of this kind is found at some 300 out of 700 Swiderian sites and dominates sites up to 200 km from its source, with isolated examples found up to 750 km away.

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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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