A classic Keilmesser / Prądnik from Neuburg /Donau

This is a classic “initial” Ciemna/Pradnik backed bifacial knife, (Keilmesser). It was found as a stray find, decennia ago, at Neuburg at the Donau (Bavaria) in the heartland of the Central European Micoquian technocomplex. It was made from Kreidequarzit, known as raw material from other Middle Paleolithic site nearby (Speckberg, Oberneder Grotto, Biburg, Landkreis Kelheim).

Keilmesser are typical tools of the Micoquian. Ciemna/Pradnik backed bifacial knifes, named after a site in Southern Poland, which was recently dated to MIS3 (excavations in the well-stratified Main Chamber (sector CK). They are characterized by one straight cutting edge opposite a thicker blunted edge, a rectangular or convex tip, -with or -without the signs of re-sharpening by removal of lateral tranchets. This reshaping technique is known as Prądnik technique. At Ciemna this technique was used for renuvation not only of Keilmesser but also for the resharping of other tools (for example scraper). The Prądnik technique of resharpening is known also from elsewhere in Central and West Europe, for example at Okiennik and Abri de Wylotne in Poland, Stratum IIIB at Buhlen (Hessen), at the Grottos de la Verpillière I and II (Bourgogne),  Mont de Beuvry (Pas-de-Calais)….

Keilmesser (Prądniks in the Polish literature) have been further divided into several morphological sub-types, mainly based on the shape of the tip and extent of the prehensile back (Klausennische, Bockstein, Pradnik/Ciemna, Königsaue, Lichtenberg, Buhlen, Tata, Wolgograd, Ak-Kaya…)

Studies show that Keilmesser played a specific role throughout the Middle Paleolithic in Central /East Europe. They formed an important part of the Neanderthal toolkit, representing tools that were used for a variety of activities (cutting, sawing), repeatedly resharpened and recycled, used and curated for a long time), and had causal relationship with regionalization of cultural and social variability among Neanderthals.

Metrical analyses suggest that the variability of their forms fact reflects a combination of several main determinants, such as the nature and morphology of the raw material, the stage of the tool reduction during its use and modification and the presence and absence of hafting devices.

The KMG-groups, recorded over a vast area from France to the lower Volga basin, are much more widespread than the MTA technocomplex, as the latter is confined to Western Europe. In Western Europe, we notice an overlap between KMG / MTA as best evidenced in Belgium or France. This observation points to a strong influence of an elaborated socio-cultural behaviour among late Neanderthals before the advent of AMH in Europe.

Asymmetric Bifaces

A triangular Handaxe from Neuburg an der Donau


The Middle European Micoquian of the Franconian Jura

The Prądnik (KMG) complex in Central Germany revisited

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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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