Falling out of Time: “Anachronistic Tools”

mousteriolith from pataud

This is a flat and still sharp Handaxe (10 cm long), made of local flint and found in intact early Gravettian deposits at the Abri Pataud during the early 20th century together with “Perigordian IV / V “ Upper Paleolithic Tools, thousands Upper Paleolithic  blades and bladelets. No other Handaxe has been recorded from this early excavation. It is very probable, that this very fresh artifact was created by H. Sapiens and in not an imported handaxe from some Mousterian / Neanderthal site nearby.

Another Handaxe seems to be known from the Movius excavations (1958-1964). Interestingly I found no notion about it in the literature, but a picture in the net. This  biface  may be a reused Mousterian tool, but again a “reinvention” during the  Aurignacian / Perigordian / Solutrean of the site can not be excluded(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abri_Pataud_-_Reused_biface_-_20090922.png) .

Such “Anachronisms” are not rare during human Prehistory. Principally, many rather simple instruments that have been crated before can reappear after considerable time. This may be explained by the fact, that non-complex instruments can ad-hoc reinvented again and again. On the other hand many more complex stone tools are extremely well defined in space and time (Grand Pressigny daggers, Noailles Burins, Ounanian Points, PPNC sickles to name just a few).

Choppers and Chopping tools are not confined to the Early Paleolithic. They persist to later prehistoric times. A nice example from a “Middle Paleolithic Chopper” comes from Creswell Crags / Robin Hood Cave and was found during the 1875 excavations(http://www.creswell-crags.org.uk/explore/exhibition-objects/59/Chopping-tool).

During the EUP, Choppers and Chopping tools are for example documented from Kara Bom, an open-air site in the Siberian Altai (ca 40 k.a. BP) and from Varvarina Gora a  site located 12 km south of the village of Novaia Brian, Buriat Republic. Heavy duty Choppers are known from the Pavlovian / Gravettian sites in Middle Europe at Dolnî Věstonice, Předmostí and Willendorf II (30-25 k.a. BP) and from the Hungarian Epigravettian at Arka (17 k.a. BP).

Choppers, chopping tools, and large unretouched flake tools were found in Southwest Asia associated with the earliest, Lower Palaeolithic cultures, and then reappeared again in quantity after a long hiatus in the Epi-Palaeolithic/Proto-Neolithic period. In other parts of Asia, such heavy duty tools never disappeared from the Archeological record since the early Pleistocene.

Early in the 20 century, Obermaier was astonished by Mousterian like scrapers at the Upper Paleolithic Krems Hundssteig site (http://www.aggsbach.de/2010/08/krems-hundssteig/;  “Mousterioliths”), as displayed below. Scrapers with a “Mousteroid” appearance are not rare during the European Aurignacian ( For example at Solutré; in S/W-France and Iberia) and even during the Epigravettian ( for example at Grubgraben in Austria; http://www.aggsbach.de/2013/07/after-the-great-cold-the-epigravettien-in-austria/).

From Strobl / Obermaier 1909:



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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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