Reworked MTA Biface from Indre-et-Loire

mta reworked aggsbach

Stone tools are the most common and durable evidence of Middle Paleolithic behavior, but are also among the most enigmatic. They are, obviously, technological artifacts, produced by a set of mechanical processes beginning with raw material acquisition followed by its transformation into blanks and retouched implements, which may be discarded as-is, or undergo one or more episodes of rejuvenation.

At the same time, we can presume that their production was deliberate and goal-directed in the sense that their makers created them to perform one or more tasks. Yet beyond these basic points, Middle Paleolithic stone tools do not lend themselves to easy interpretation. No strong links can be drawn between form and function, at least when the Bordesian typology is used to describe their form.

Maybe Francois Bordes would have called this MTA-Handaxe from the Department Indre-et-Loire in west-central France a sub triangular biface. This artifact has three convex and sharpened margins and a prehensile part seems not to be present. Therefore the tool was probably hafted for use. For sure it has been reworked several times and finally was brought into a unique shape, not compatible with any “type” of common textbooks.

An extended text about reworking late Middle Paleolithic Bifaces can be found in the thesis of Rebecca Wragg-Sykes:

resharped triangle

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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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2 Responses to Reworked MTA Biface from Indre-et-Loire

  1. Ber (Hubert) says:

    Hail to thee, incredibly knowledgable KATZMANN, and thanks for this fantastic paleoblog which I have been following with gret pleasue for over a year now!

    Two questions: what’s the size of the piece? and how do we know it is middle palaeolithic and not neolithic? for a Gr Press paleo piece the patina is too light.

    If it is MTA it is very unusual. In that case there are two possibilities: either the form has been strived for as uch (as in the case of the biface triangulaire tyique); or it is a result of subsequently realizing working edges one after anoter.

    That’s the usual procedure, as pointed out convincingly by Marie Soressi in her PhD (downloadable from her website) and assumed by most French Mousterian specialists. In the second case: is the working edge on top in the picture the most recent one, and what was the oreder of realizing and using the various working edges?

    cheers — Ber (Hubert)

  2. Katzman says:

    The piece is 10×10 cm (max). Left basal ventral there is a notch of younger datum. The same can be observed dorsal basal ( not shown in the picture). The artifact is more dark, than seen in the picture and is related to other typical Grand Pressigy items in my collection.The right working edge is bifacially retouched, the other two sides are unifacially (“scraper-like”) retouched. The production started from the left edge and proceeded clockwise. There is no indication, thet the knapper intended to make a neolithic “hache”. The working edges are not hierarchisized. If the artifact would be not damaged it would be more triangular. I also am ambivalt about its age but over all I rather suggest a paleolithic and not neolithic age.

    Best Regards

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