The river Aisne belongs to the drainage basin of the river Seine in northern France. Its source lies between Verdun and Reims, and the valley stretches to the confluence of the river with the river Oise, near Compiegne. The Aisne gravels were and are of great value for concrete manufacture and road building, and large-scale gravel extraction have destroyed the landscape. The valley floor and terraces are covered by gravel and loam and were the focus of settlement from the early Paleolithic through the early middle Ages.
In 1865 Lambert drew the attention to a large collection of paleontological materials. First discoveries of Paleolithic artifacts were made in the 1870ies and during the next decades large quantities of Acheulian and Mousterian instruments were assembled in large private collections. Aisne-artifacts have been also stored in the Museums in Paris and Caen and Soissons.
While Victor Commont (1909, 1913, 1914), worked extensively with Paleolithic materials from the region around the Somme Valley and established a local chronology, there was no one who was interested in the scientific evaluation of the rich archeological findings in the Aisne valley. In contrast to the Somme valley, almost no stratigraphic observations were made. Sites with undisturbed context are not known, mainly because periglacial phenomena disturbed the original surfaces. The large collections have been built up on exceptional pieces and are heavily biased. The handaxe shown here comes from an old collection of artifacts from the gravels of “Presles et Boves” at Vailly-sur-Aisne, were numerous handaxes, mainly made of quartzite were collected in the early 20th century.