Misleading Typology

This is a paleolithic stray find from Chambonniere (Auvergne). If cordiform, triangular or small bifaces are found without a datable context, they are assumed being part of a “MTA”-ensemble, dated to OIS 3. Such assumptions represent a sort of circular reasoning and have been deconstructed during the last decades by findings of small bifaces in Europe within a secure stratigraphic context. Here are some random examples:

Cordiform bifaces together with an advanced Levalloisian technology have been detected at Petit-Bost near Neuvic-sur-l’Isle (Dordogne), securely dated to early OIS 8 (300 k.a. BP)

The site of Ranville (near Caen) lies at the confluence of the Orne and Aiguillion and is dated early OIS 7. The fauna reflects a mix of forested and open environments, but is dominated by red deer (Cervus elaphus) and a horse typical of semi-arid conditions (Equus hydruntinus). The assemblage consists of ad hoc core working (with only one Levallois core), handaxe manufacturing flakes, and very few cordiform handaxes. The site as a whole is interpreted as a butchery location during autumn.

Pontnewydd Cave (Clwyd, Wales) has produced a rich Levallois and handaxe assemblage primarily from the Lower Breccia. This is interpreted as a debris flow and it has been suggested that the artifacts derive from outside the cave. TL and U-series dates indicate a minimum age of 220 k.a. for the Lower Breccia.

See also Katzmans discussion about convergence in prehistory: http://www.aggsbach.de/2011/05/convergence-in-prehistory/


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