Kervouster: a large Mousterian Site in the Bretagne


ker vouster aggsbach

These are three typical bifaces from the Mousterian site at Kervouster (maximal length: 4,5 cm). There are two main stations in Brittany, assigned to an “MTA” made of fine grained Quartzite. 

Since their discovery during the 19th century they have yielded thousands of artifacts, which have regrettably dispersed over numerous collections, some of them lost forever during the WWII. Both sites extend over several hectares and are relatively imprecisely dated between MIS5-3.

The first site is the station of Bois-du-Rocher (Clos-Rouge; Département Côtes d’Armor), already introduced during an earlier post ( The second is situated in Finistère, near Quimper, a place called Ker Vouster (or: Kervouster; commune de Guengat).

The typological spectrum of these sites, meet the definition of the “Moustérien à pièces bifaciales dominantes” (Mousterian with bifacial tools [MBT]), characterized by the generalized application of a bifacial retouch on the majority of blanks. The  ensemble resembles the artifactual spectrum of the “Le Bois-l’Abbé at Saint-Julien de la Liègue” site (

At Kervouster, there are numerous very tiny (< 4 cm) bifacial tools, usually bifaces and partial bifaces of ovate, discoid, cordiform and subtriangular shape. Compared with the Bois-du-Rocher material, the artifacts are much more refined, which may be solely the result of a finer grained raw material. 

Interestingly the artifactual spectrum of this multilayered site does not change over a considerable time span of certainly several thousand years. A very similar Mousterian is known from Traisseny, but here the bifaces were mainly made of chert, indicating the marginal role of raw materials on the knapping conception.

Without knowing the context, an Africanist would call such “handaxes”- “MSA-points” and people working on the Paleolithic of Central Europe would call them perhaps “Faustkeilblatt”, “Blattform” or “Fäustel” and assign them to an Middle European Micoquian. These inconsistencies say a lot about the “precision” of Archeological terminology and the shortcomings of a typological approach.

A nice web page with more artifacts from the site:

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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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