Northern Hessen: The Acheulian

seigertshausen1This is a large quartzite handaxe, found in 1949 near Seigertshausen in North Hessen. The Acheulean of this area is selectively known from surface collections and the material can only be provisionally classified according to typology and patination. Important sites are:

Rainrod (Schwalmtal; Vogelsbergkreis): Older Paleolithic with large and heavy handaxes, choppers, polyhedrons and large flakes from discoid cores.

Hausen (Oberaula; Schwalm-Eder Kreis): An older series comparable to Rainrod and a younger series with finely made elongated cordiform handaxes.

Ziegenhain-Reutersruh (Schwalmstadt; Schwalm-Eder Kreis): An older series comparable to the findings of Rainrod and a younger one, comparable to the younger series from Hausen.

The Münzenberg area (Wetteraukreis): Numerous quartzite chopper and chopping tools, partially incorporated into OIS9-7 geologic deposits. Many single finds of handaxes comparable to the Rainrod and Hausen findings.

There are several scientific traditions, which try to explain the enormeous persistence of handaxes over large areas and a time of at least 1, 4 Mio years. Some European researchers and Archaeologist that work in the Levant, think that the Acheulean culture was an extremely stable system of cultural transmission (Fiedler 2002). Anyhow,the majority of scholars, coming from a skeptical Anglo-American scientific tradition claim, that handaxes must have repeatedly invented. In this view a handaxe was simply “the best tool that humans were capable of making that did the job adequately” (Hawks 1996).

Another question is weather the production of handaxes was a process of conscious intention or not. The “internationalists” would agree with a statement of J D Clark, made some 30 ears ago:” The symmetry and refinement of some of the earlier Acheulean handaxes, which surely go beyond the utilitarian need, may reflect the first appearance of an aesthetic appreciation of form”. The “functionalists” on the other hand would argue that that the perceived symmetry in stone tools is simply the consequence of the manufacture technique, rather than the product of human intention. It is almost impossible to verify or falsify such statements.

How would you explain

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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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