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Title: The Cultural and Chronostratigraphic Context of a New Leaf Point from Hohle Fels Cave in the Ach Valley of Southwestern Germany
Authors: Conard, Nicholas John
Janas, Alexander
Marcazzan, Diana
Miller, Christopher E.
Richard, Maïlys
Schürch, Benjamin
Tribolo, Chantal
Keywords: Swabian Jura;Middle Paleolithic;Blattspitzengruppe;Dating;Stratigraphy
Issue Date: Aug-2022
Publisher: Kerns Verlag Tübingen
Citation: Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte, 2022, 30I2021, 41–66
Abstract: During the summer of 2020 the excavation team at Hohle Fels Cave in the Ach Valley of southwestern Germany recovered a leaf point (in German Blattspitze) made from gray Jurassic chert. The find is well-preserved and remarkable for a number of reasons. First this is the only leaf point recovered by a modern excavation in the Swabian Jura, and is the first leaf point discovered in situ since 1936, when Gustav Riek’s crew recovered two well-preserved leaf points at the excavation of Haldenstein Cave in the Lone Valley. The leaf point and associated finds originate from archaeological horizon (AH) X, 120 cm below the base of the rich Aurignacian deposits at the site that dates with radiocarbon to ca. 42 ka cal BP. Four ESR dates made on the teeth of large mammals from AH IX overlying the new leaf point yielded an average age of 62.5 ± 4 ka BP. This date represents a minimum age for the new horizons, which based on convention would be placed in the cultural taxonomic unit of the Blattspitzengruppe. Since the Blattspitzengruppe is typically interpreted as the last Middle Paleolithic cultural unit, we were intrigued to find an assemblage containing a Blattspitze in such an early chronostratigraphic context. While in Germany the Blattspitzengruppe is usually associated with the end of the Middle Paleolithic, many researchers across Europe have described these leaf point assemblages as being transitional industries at the interface between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. Historically, some authors have even suggested a degree of cultural continuity between leaf point assemblages of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. Here we present the stratigraphic and chronological context of the AH X and provide a preliminary description of the material cultural record from this horizon. Keeping in mind that we so far have only excavated parts of 6 m2 of the new find horizon and the underlying find horizon AH XI, the paper provides initial observations that will need revision as the excavation proceeds. These findings suggest that leaf points represent a feature in the technological repertoire of the Late Pleistocene Neanderthals of southwestern Germany rather than a reliable cultural stratigraphic marker for the last phase of the Middle Paleolithic.
ISSN: 1611-7948
DOI: 10.51315/mgfu.2021.30003
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Geocronología y Geología

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