These are some artifacts ( max.: 7 cm long) from Saint-Brice-sous-Rânes. Small handaxes, “unifacial handaxes” resembling convergent Quina scrapers, “Halbkeile”, bifacial scrapers and some asymmetric pieces which show some affinities to the “Middle European Keilmessergruppe” (Micoquian) are present in abundance.
The site of Saint-Brice-sous-Rânes, la “Bruyère” (Orne) belongs to a cluster of middle Paleolithic production sites for bifacial tools covering about the area of 200 hectares. These sites were found on the plateau, the slopes and on top of a flat-bottomed valley. Surveys and limited excavations were performed in 1998 and 1999 and showed some material in situ, undisturbed by periglacial phenomena. Excavations were carried out between 1999 and 2010. Tl-data provided for the first time secure dates for an older series, characterized by the Levallois technique (MIS 6) and an abundant younger series dated around 40 k.a. BP .
The artifacts have sometime a surprising state of “freshness”, which is also seen on some pieces displayed here. Microtraceological studies have identified the exicution of various tasks asociated with the retouched artifacts (for example: working with organic material). They are almost exclusively made of Lower Bathonian flint, a raw material found in abundance in the immediate vicinity. The density of artifacts (40 to 400 objects per square meter) and the nature of the material suggest the existence of large workshop production areas for bifacial tools.
Although some nuclei show the implementation of a centripetal recurrent Levallois technique, the majority of the blanks were part of a non-laminar and non-Levallois production sequence. The lithic assemblages are clearly related to a “Moustérien à pièces bifaciales dominantes (http://www.aggsbach.de/2010/08/the-mousterien-a-pieces-bifaciales-dominantes/).” A late OIS3 date (TL) fits fine into the chronology of the late Mousterian of Northern France and the late Micoquian in Middle Europe.