A MTA triangular Biface, a Neolithic flint-axe and a”livre-de-beurre”core for the production of large blades from Le Grand Pressigny area (Indre-et-Loire). All artefacts were collected during the 1930 by a local teacher and are made from the typical regional flint.
Le Grand Pressigny is a small town (population about 1000) 60 km to the south of Tours. The area around le Grand Pressigny is characterized by several rivers: the Claise and its tributaries the Aigronne, the Brignon and the Muanne, and by the Creuse.
During the 19th century a lot of large Neolithic workshops were identified in the Le Grand Pressigny vicinity, especially at Abilly in the Claise valley. While local enthusiasts collected enormous amounts of mainly Neolithic material, now part of the Le Grand Pressigny museums collections (http://jimmcneill.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/flint-museum-at-le-grand-pressigny-touraine/), large quantities of stone artifacts were also sold by merchants and land owners. When R. Daniel visited the region in 1928 it was it was already difficult to find “belles pieces” during a field walk (http://www.aggsbach.de/2011/02/acheulean-biface-from-from-the-collection-of-raoul-daniel/).
There is a high density of deposits attributed to the Middle Paleolithic in Touraine and Poitou near Grand Pressigny. The best known technocomplex is the “Mousterian of Acheulean” since this industry is usually identified by the presence of some bifacial pieces (sometimes even only one …) during surveys. The most famous MTA- site known in the Poitou remains Fontmaure, excavated by Louis Pradel. Other MTA deposits are at a preliminary stage of publication until now (Naulac at Roche-Posay, the Pyramid site at Cere-la-Ronde…). The MTA biface shown here is a typical isolated surface find .
During the 4th. and the 3th. Millenary BC, a highly specialized lithic production that comprised mainly flint-axes and long blades took place in Western Europe, sustained by the “mining phenomenon”. The exploitation of fine-grained Upper-Turonian Flint in the area of Touraine lead to a massive production of very specific Cores (“livre-de-beurre”) and to a serial blade production made by indirect percussion from these cores. These long blades (minimal length: 25 cm, maximal length: 40 cm) were only marginally retouched to yield “daggers”, which were exchanged over great distances (typically 200 km with a maximum of 800 km). These highly curated tools seemed to be very carefully used and processed for maximizing their functional live.
Recent studies of the use-wear demonstrated their use for cutting vegetal material, while more exhausted tools were used for less specific tasks (especially for hide working). Of course this use does not preclude that daggers from the Grand Pressigny area were also used as prestige goods, especially during funerary rituals.