A “Point de Verrières” found near Briennon

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This is a Middle Paleolithic  “Point de Verrières” found  in the Roannaise near the river Loire, a single stray find 370 km south of the eponymous Verrières-le-Buisson Paleolithic site. Fig.2 shows “common” Middle Paleolithic points from N and S/W-France to clarify the difference between the implement shown in this post and the “fond commune” of the Mousterian tool-kit.

Laminar production is the main production system in several Middle Paleolithic sites in N/W-Europe, dated to MIS 5 s.l. E. Boëda pointed out some critical features which distinguish blade production strategies from those of the Levallois system. Most importantly, the core-volume organization is radically different: the active surface of the core from which the removals are struck extends along most, if not the entire core’s periphery rather than being restricted to one delimited surface.

Middle Paleolithic blade cores can be reduced according to four different strategies: semi-rotating method, rotating method, frontal method and facial method. These different options may occur in full or partial combination in the archaeological assemblages, the semi-rotating method being most common. Variability is also expressed in the number of striking platforms present on the cores (one or two opposed). The method of core reduction (recurrent unidirectional or bidirectional) generally involves the production of crested blades, although this is not an absolute rule. Usually, Middle Paleolithic blade cores are only minimally prepared, and the volume is not thoroughly shaped out before starting the production of blades.

The blades were detached with a hard hammer and consequently show significant variation in shape and size. In Middle Paleolithic assemblages, blade production is generally found in combination with flakes produced following the Levallois concept, the latter being in most cases the dominant mode of reduction.

The Levallois recurrent uni/bidirectional methods are most commonly associated with laminar production systems in Mousterian assemblages. The need to produce quadrangular elongated blanks which implied the use of this peculiar method could have contributed in the same assemblages to the emergence of a blade production. The few blades that are retouched are modified through marginal retouch. In fact, the laminar production in the Middle Paleolithic is aunique phenomenon, clearly distinct from Upper Paleolithic blade production in the striking technique used (direct percussion with a stone hammer) as well as in the way core volume was exploited, in the characteristics of the end-products and in its systematic association with flake production.

Predominantly non-Levallois blade assemblages with little secondary modifications include La Butte d’Arvigny (Seine-et-Marne, France), Wallertheim D (Germany) Rocourt (Liège, Belgium), Saint-Germain-des-Vaux/Port-Racine (Manche, France), Riencourt-lès-Bapaume – CA Horizon (Pas-de-Calais, France) and Seclin – D7 (Nord, France).

There are some sites with Micoquian (“Keilmesser Gruppen” / KMG) elements at the S/E Margins of the Paris basin (sensu Bosinski and Richter) associated with Levallois and/or non-Levallois, semi-rotating prismatic cores for the production of blades, unknown from Central Europe: Vinneuf (Yonne; OIS5d) and Champlost (Yonne; late OIS4) and the very interesting open air site of Verrières-le-Buisson (Essonne, OIS5d).

Vinneuf N1 (Yonne, France) represents a late Last Interglacial s.l. “KMG” lithic assemblage. Indeed, the assemblage of Vinneuf N1 is characterized by bifaces (n=27) and tools (n=148), which have affinities to the KMG. There is a certain abundance of semi-rotating prismatic cores for the production of blades.

Verrières-le-Buisson shows the combination of asymmetric bifaces and other KMG-elements together with a mainly Levallois blade production. Some cores show volumetric conceptions and are suggested to have started as pure Levallois cores, with subsequent change in the their operational conception.  Most interesting are abundant “Points de Verrières” which are retouched asymmetric Levallois-blades. These pointed blades show a continuous, semi-abrupt invasive retouche on both margins, mostly direct, sometimes inverse or alternating. They cannot be easily confused with retouched European elongated Levallois points and show some similarities to Hummalian and Abu Sif Points from the Near East. Interestingly some “Points de Verrières”  have also be found at Champlost, showing another unifying element of these three extraordinay sites.

Suggested Reading:




Yes-There are traditions and “culture” in Neanderthals-Victoria!

The Prądnik (KMG) complex in Central Germany revisited

From: Daniel Marguerite, Daniel Raoul, Degros Jacqueline, Vinot André. I Le site paléolithique du Terrier. In: Gallia préhistoire, tome 16, fascicule 1, 1973. pp. 63-103.


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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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