Crimean Middle Paleolithic Crescent Point


This is a crescent 5,5 cm long Middle Paleolithic Point (Fig 1: ventral, Fig 2: dorsal) with a left sided continuous  retouche on the ventral side and bilateral flat retouches on the dorsal side, creating a delicate pointed end. The blank can be called a Pseudo Levallois Point from a discoidal core. There is some careless basal thinning on the dorsal basis of the point and no indication for a Levallois chaine operatoire.

The Crimea is a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that is almost completely surrounded by both the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. The peninsula is connected on the northwest to the mainland by the Perekop Isthmus,  a 8 km wide wide strip of land. During the last Interglacial Crimea was disconnected from the mainland. Although the numerous (>100) and thick stratigraphic Middle Paleolithic sequences from caves and abris of the Crimean Mountains start with OIS5, first people are suggested to have entered the Crimea at least during late MIS6.

Fig 3: By NASA – [1], Public Domain,

Two technocomplexes, the Western Crimean Mousterian (WCM) and the Crimean Micoquian (CM) have been identified during  more that 100 yrs of Archaeological investigation. While the MIS3-WCM is characterized by a strong Levallois component and a laminar trend, the CM started during MIS5e  and lasted until the MIS3/2 boundary.

Plano-convex Bifacial tools, convergent unifacial tools ( “scraper” and “points” and simple non Levallois unifacial tools (scraper, denticulated tools) form the substratum of the CM. According to the relative frequency of tool classes  three to five “facies” of the CM are known (for example: Ak Kaya ensembles with the highest frequency of bifacial tools, Staroselje ensembles  and the Kiik-Koba toolkit) and may be understood as activity specific expressions of this complex. How the WCM and the  CM, which have been found interstratified at least at one site (Kabazi V) , can be explained is a matter of debate, comparable to this issue in the discussions about the Middle Paleolithic variability in West and Central Europe.

An isolated stray find of a Crimean Middle Paleolithic Crescent Point poses the problem to which complex it should be assigned. Clearly non Levallois and made by discoid method it fits  to the CM. Similar pieces are known especially from Kiik-Koba. This facies is characterized by its high portion of convergent unifacial tools. Bifaces were often used as cores for the unifacial toolkit, therefore the artifacts are often small , most of the time not longer than 4-5 cm. In our case the point is at the upper limit for such an ensemble, because itwas made from a large discoid core.

The abundance of reworked Bifaces serving as cores and convergent tools in the Kiik-Koba contexts may be mainly explained by raw material shortness and not by cultural factors.

Demidenko described the place of crescent points within the reduction process: It begins with simple straight and convex sidescrapers further transformed into sub- triangular and/0r semi-crescent sidescrapers and points and then into triangular / sub-crescent and crescent / leaf- shaped / hook-like side-scrapers and points.

Good informations about the Crimean Middle Paleolithic can be found here: 

Excellent discussion about the Micoquian in the Caucasus can be found here:

Decorated Radius bone fragment of a raven  from the Micoquian strata at  from Zaskalnaya VI rock shelter, Crimea. Dated to between 38 and 43 k.a. Cal BP.

Crescent Middle Paleolithic Points  and other components of the eastern Micoquian were also found in West Europe:

A “Point de Verrières” found near Briennon

Bifacial Scraper from Montguillain / Goincourt (Oise)

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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