Right lateralized Projectil Point from the 6th Millenium AD

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flugler-dorsalThis is a right lateralized Danubian Point, characterized by a retouche inverse plate (“RIP”) from the early LBK (Linearbandkeramik) of North / Western Europe. H Löhr would have called it a “Rechtsflügler”.

There is little doubt that the LBK population in Europe genetically  shared an strong affinity with the modern-day Near East and Anatolia, supporting a major  input from this area during the advent of farming in Europe. On the borders between the incoming farmers and the indigenous hunters / gatherers one can study a variety of interactions with an enormous diversity from northern Spain to southern Scandinavia. No one region in Europe is quite like another; hunter-gatherers and early farmers alike were also varied and the old labels of Mesolithic and Neolithic are increasingly inadequate to capture the diversity of human agency and belief.

The processes of mutual interference between hunters / gatherers and farmers were complex and on a micro-regional scale very different. Acculturation processes not only involved changes in subsistence, alliances, raw material procurement, settlement systems but also created new ideologies and believes in how people thought about themselves and their worlds.

late-trapezeWhile long-distance contact and interaction is still hard to prove, there is little doubt that Early Neolithic farmers and local hunter-gatherers had contacts within the boundaries of the LBK core areas itself. This conclusion is primarily based on the frequent occurrence of non-LBK pottery, i.e. La Hoguette, Limburg, and “Begleitkeramik” pottery, and asymmetrical triangular arrowheads, which are selectively the focus of this post. The projectile conzeppoint shown here is a right lateralized point with “retouche inverse plate” (Fig. 3&4).

Asymmetrical trapezes or triangles with retouched bases or flat inverse retouch (retouche inverse plate or “RIP”), seem to have developed shortly after 6000 cal BC among the local Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt (RMS) groups, although their origins may lie with the left lateralized trapezoids of southern France. Such armatures are suggested to show some of the best available evidence for investigating possible contacts (e.g. acculturation and/or exchange) between indigenous foragers and farmers of the Early LBK culture.

First, trapezoidal armatures – widely considered diagnostic of the Late Mesolithic, have been recovered from LBK sites . Second, asymmetric triangles (flèches du Belloy) similar to the so-called “Danubian armatures”  prevalent on western LBK sites have been recovered from Late Mesolithic–Final Mesolithic  sites in northeastern France and the Benelux countries, and an evolutionary trajectory has been proposed in which three different asymmetric triangle types were “derived” from specific Late Mesolithic trapeze types.

Beyond typology, particular technological attributes such as lateralization and the negative scar of the microburin technique (piquant trièdre) have been highlighted to indicate the similarity of Mesolithic and LBK armatures. Finally, flat retouch along the ventral side of the small truncation of both trapezes and asymmetric triangles has been proposed as a development of hafting technologies that suggests additional similarity between armature industries. Combined, these typo technological and stylistic resemblances have led researchers to interpret armatures as evidence for the transmission of cultural identities between indigenous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and LBK farmers.

Yet while there is no doubt that aspects of LBK lithic typology and technology, notably for arrowheads, have roots in the preceding Mesolithic, there has been a tendency to simplify a complex picture by drawing up clear-cut divisions between what makes a “Mesolithic” or “Neolithic” artefact. In fact, there is a lot of overlap between the two, as well as considerable diversity within each; nor do various “Mesolithic” and “Neolithic”’ indicators (lateralization, knapping technique, raw material preferences, and so on) co-vary in such a way as to create two mutually distinct tradition groups. In any case, the arrival of the LBK is connected with considerable changes in raw material management and tool types. Rather than a simple picture of one-sided influence, we have a complex one in which two traditions merge.

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One Response to Right lateralized Projectil Point from the 6th Millenium AD

  1. Ramon Marquez (Spain) says:

    Very interesting post. I think that it could be possible that different groups of hominids had been at different level of cultural, technical, or even phisiolgical evolution at the same time in different places in Europe.

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