Middle Palaeolithic Percussive Tools from the Last Interglacial Site Neumark-Nord 2/2 (Germany) and the Visibility of Such Tools in the Archaeological Record

E. Pop, D. Charalampopoulos, C. S. Arps, A. Verbaas, W. Roebroeks, S. Gaudzinski-Windheuser, G. Langejans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Despite a strong increase in the research on hominin percussive tool use, the primary focus in the study of technological behaviour still lies on flaked stone artefacts, especially for the Middle Palaeolithic. This paper aims to contribute to a more thorough understanding of the full spectrum of homi;nin technological behaviour, by presenting a systematic analysis of ground stone tools from the Last Interglacial Middle Palaeolithic site Neumark-Nord 2/2 (NN2/2) (Germany). At NN2/2, coarse gravel- and cobble-sized pieces (n = 351) were sourced from local outcrops of glacial deposits, with a preferential selection for quartzite and sandstone. Low-power use wear analysis and the archaeological context of these finds provide evidence for the possible use of at least 58 pieces for active (hammerstones) and 5 for passive (anvils) percussive tasks, specifically lithic production and potentially bone processing. These grounds stone tools are larger and heavier than the manuports. The hammerstones were preferentially made of quartz and quartzite, while the anvils are mostly of limestone. The limited build-up of use wear on the tools is interpreted as expedient use. The presence of post-depositional surface modifications, their relatively expedient use and their potential application on soft contact materials (e.g. nuts) resulted in a relatively low discernibility of the wear. With expediency being a key factor in Middle Palaeolithic lithic technology, we can expect comparable patterns for other similar-aged ground stone assemblages. Moreover, external factors, like geological context and raw material availability, post-depositional conditions and research focus and intensity, further contribute to the invisibility of such finds in the Middle Palaeolithic record.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-106
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Paleolithic Archaeology
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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