Neolithic Leaf Points

Leafed implements (“Leaf Points”) appeared relatively late in the Paleolithic. In an individual case it is not always clear if these artifacts are the product of cultural influences or of convergence due to technological and environmental constraints. In addition the designation as a leaf point must not indicate, that the artifact is indeed a projectile. It may be also a knife or a large cutting tool. It would be worthwile to write a post about the evolutionary and symbolic function of symmetry…

The most prominent Leaf points of Africa are known from the StillBay phase of the South African MSA (around 80 k.a. BP), which is later completely replaced by the Howiesons Port industry. Still Bay points can be defined as bifacially retouched, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate shaped tools, with two sharply pointed apices. Functional analysis indicates the use of StillBay points as projectiles. They are as delicate and refined as the much later Solutrean Points in West Europe dating to the LGM. Much earlier and examples of MSA Leaf Points are known from the Gademotta Region of the Rift Valley (>276 k.a. BP).

Leaf point–shaped fragments are common in layer VI at Korolevo. Layer Va has been dated to between 220,000 to 280,000 years ago (OIS 7). At this site leaf points appear as an independent technological innovation. Similar instruments were found in layer III at the site of Veliki Globochok I dated to the beginning of OIS 8, and at Marianovka, in Volhynia (OIS6?), where the leaf points were found in association with a Levallois industry.

One very interesting site in central Europe is Pietraszyn 49 in Upper Silesia (OIS6), which yielded a large number of different “Micoquian” forms (bifaces, knives, and leaf points).This findings underpin, that a “Micoquian tradition” in central Europe may be rooted in a pre-OIS 5 context and argue against a functional approach with a short chronology as proposed by Richter (Köln). During the late Middle Paleolithic Leafed implements become an invariable part of the “Micoquian toolkit” in Central and Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Crimea, and Volga basin). Bifacial tool assemblages within a Levallois-Mousterian context are known sites in the Balkans, such as Musselievo in Bulgaria.

It is highly probable, that the “Blattspitzen” and Szeletian-industries of central Europe develop from a Micoquian substrate, although any genetic relationship that has hitherto been proposed on the basis of mere morphological similarities must be treated with caution.

Leaf Points play an important role at some early upper Paleolithic (“Stage 1”)-sites in the Kostenki-Borshchevo Region (Kostenki 12, Layer III; Kostenki 6) and during the Upper Paleolithic of Asia.

During the Holocene, leaf point projectiles were knapped world wide and this specific projectile form survived according to its excellent functional properties until the metal ages.The last picture shows a Ancient Greek Bronze Arrow-head from Asia Minor, dating to 1200 – 1000 BC.

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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 Neolithic Leaf Points

  1. len deBeer says:

    Hello I would like to send you images of a Chert blade that I found at Barberton South Africa for your comment. Please send me your e-mail address. Thank you. Len

  2. Katzman says:

    Please send the pictures to

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