Tool types and raw material of Acheulian-like tools in the Belgian Kempen area

Acheulean - like assemblages, based on a pebble tool tradition were found in the Belgian Kempen region. Main determinant features indicating the production of efficient tools,  were signs of controlled flaking and edge trimming, based on a preconceived concept. (e.g. Ambrose, 2001). The same concept was applied on both large cobbles, that could serve as cleavers, as well as small tools, like micro- choppers and micro -chopping tools, found at the same locations, implicating a Mode 1 /  Mode  2 tool technology (Soressi & Dibble ,2003) for the whole region.
Note:  none of the finds from the Belgian Kempen for this period are either recognized officially nor valuated at this time. 
Nevertheless, an artefact- geofact discussion always is valuable ( Schmude 1996) as geofacts in these region usually do not have such appearance. In this article , it is spoken about artifacts and tools, and until proven otherwise, this remains the author's basic conception.
Moreover, pebble clasts with features of flaking and reduction are - especially  in these quantities and with such features - rare in the whole Belgian Kempen area. But, even in case the objects are to be classified as being geofacts, the interesting question is, how nature would produce these and how knowledge of  such geofacts might help us understand the recognition / determination of  Early Acheulean tools in the wider area. Or: did H. erectus neglect this entire region?

(The words in red are linked to the glossary of this website )

The Acheulean -like pebble tool industries (1) from the Belgian Kempen region, are dominated by a sophisticated  (Mode  1 and Mode 2) technique, applied on various pebbles to get a core tool by minimum effort.
Waterworn pebbles from Late Cromerian/ Early Elsterian ( appr. 600.000 - 420.000 BP) river deposits seem to have been  used for the production of both hand-sized tools and flakes.
Technically, the pebble is either  split by hard hammer percussion where the half size pebble has been stroke at one, or, even more frequently on two different places, to get a working ( cutting) edge and an opposite handle side.
Obviously the main purpose for the tools was a dirty, slippery activity ( such as butchering, or cleaning fish) as these strikes for a good grip are visible in a big part of the assemblages. Or reduction techniques comprise well placed blows at the pebble's edge. Most frequently ( over 90 %) the pebble has one or more sharp edges, that often show small notches.

schematic view of partially cortex on a worked cobble
Different kinds of raw stone materials were used for the production of  tools, such as quartz, quartz veined quartzites, sandstones,quartzites, lydite, flint and even a piece of imported basalt.
In the assemblages, stones with a naturally" idealized" shape ( like with a naturally formed point, a naturally formed butt)  are transformed with minimum effort into a core tool. The average number of strikes on the pebbles is four( counted over 1400 artifacts from one local findspot).  The assemblage comprises pics, primary flakes, unifacial choppers,  chopping tools and polyhedrons. The splitting of pebbles has usually been carried out on small sized  'flint -type' pebbles known as "maaseitjes".  Much of the quartzite tools were treated in the same way and thus split as the first step in the controlled flaking, to become secondary platforms. We can distinguish a diversification in applied techniques  based on the different materials: brown rounded pebbles (originating from the Moselle mineralization, beforethe  Toul captation of 350.000 BP  ) are not split : these are  transformed  into various types of choppers/ chopping tools (2). This demonstrates the raw material choice is  depending on the preconceived, desired tool type: coarse grained cobbles were mainly used for the production of (large) hand-axes / preformed bifaces. This is comparative with finds described by Sharon ( in: Acheulian Large Flake Industries: Technology, Chronology and Significance, 2007).
Quartz is generally used for the fabrication of pics. Quartzite pebbles of the rectangular type, were often split, or adapted to a "most possible" form, following the natural shape of the pebble, where the yellow brown cortex has been removed by small blows.
Though the artifacts from the Belgian Kempen region look very primitive, indeed we can claim they did not make big effort in the production of them, the tool-makers benefit well from the different materials. The natural  appearance of the artifacts is most likely the reason these tools were not noticed before by others: it takes good practice to distinguish them from ordinary  geofacts that appear in the region and it takes much study to find the right places where they could have been  produced and used in prehistoric times.
Brown pebble,unifacial placed blows to make it a double sidescraper

Typical quartz core -tool in the assemblage. All picks, found in the sites, were made of quartz.
Main production -types of rounded/ oval pebbles

The over 3000 artefacts found in the site -cluster MA4 ( status dec. 2011) could very well  belong to an Acheulean tradition and in such case could be placed into The European Oldowan ( by technology stage "Mode 2" whereby crude proto- bifaces appear in the assemblage ( N= 22/ 2000, = ca 1%)). In the classification of Mary Leakey ( M. Leakey, 1977)  the following types could be detected: anvil, bifacial points,choppers,chopping tools, cleavers, picks, debitage waste, discoids, hammerstones, outil ecailles and proto - bifaces ( preforms).

Raw source materials originate from large gravel deposits of the river Maas, belonging to the Kempen fan-gravels. These gravels  were deposed at the site- cluster (MA4 - MA4-6)  during the Cromerian B [ Cromerian type i.c. interglacial  phase, based on low part of large tools in the assemblage,]  (M.I.S. 16?). As artifacts were found over a distance of  ca. 500 meters at exactly the same levels, it's not excluded we deal with an eroded, deformed former interglacial  riverbank of the Maas river (Cromerian IV) interglacial period  520.000 - 480.000 BP), forming beaches with coarse gravels, where prehistoric hominids lived.

As no other type of artifacts were found, neither imported from other places ( no manuports, ecept from one basalt hammer, which originates probably  from the German Rhine basin)), nor artifacts from any other periods after the Acheulean, like the  Levallois technique (appearing around MIS 8), like blade technologies [MIS 6, Veldwezelt] occur, it is supposed the site- cluster was used over ( very) long Lower Palaeolithic period, both in interglacial and interstadial periods: in the tool typology dimensions, the assemblage is varying from mini- choppers/ mini- chopping tools ( 1,5 cm) till large, to very large, heavy duty cleavers/ choppers ( over 25 cm).
Brown quartzite pebbles, originating from the Vosges ( before Toul- captation at ca .350.000 BP  , when the Moselle changed her coarse into the direction of the Rhine river) are usually transformed into choppers and chopping tools. This is the desired raw material especially for simple choppers and chopping tools.

Sometimes  the pebble is split and processed by strikes to get flakes.  Such a pointed tool, like shown in  the image above is in principle an unretouched flake, probably used as a pointed knife. Such tools probably were used for small activities, like opening shells. Many unretouched flakes were found at MA4 and in the sites of MA3.

Brown  rounded and oval  pebbles, very often used and  transformed into simple choppers of the Mode-1 technology. Low investment in tool technology could give the idea of naturally broken/ damaged pebbles. Patinas on the artifacts, repeating patterns and the fact over 3000  such flaked  pebbles were found  at one spot makes it very believable, we deal with real man-made artifacts.
A round about worked pebble could be regarded as a large chopper ( unifacial in lateral surface) or  as a proto- biface ( bifacial in transversal surface). Proto bifaces in the assemblage are more adapted than the archaic simple choppers in the assemblages at MA4 and show the difference between bipolar and direct percussion  - anvil techniques 
In the assemblage,  the limits and the possibilities of the stone's characteristics to transform it into the desired tool are clear, as is visible in this quartzite stone ( above) that was suitable to become a side scrape, the whole upper side serving as a large  cutting edge.
Two sided side- scraper,/ cleaver with an extra strike on the opposite part of the tool to get a better grip on the tool. Toolmakers  repeated this concept hundreds, even thousands times; even on very small pieces, with only 2 cm length.
This chopper, made on a fine grained brown pebble looks like a very "fresh"tool, like it were used " last week". The unifacial placed blows gives it the impression of a discarded core. The 'freshness' - or better: lack of heavy alteration is caused by its original position in the original stratigraphy )
 Weathered side chopper. This weathering is probably the result of the scrubbing by coarse sand ( from the Pleistocene Maas- 'beach'). Another possibility is, this artifact has been made by coarse chipping, as described by Leaky & .Leakey, Tobias 1972; otherwise we distinguish  3 blows.
Crude unifacial and bifacial proto -bifaces (preforms) occur in the assemblage (N= 2000), so far 22 are counted  so this is only one percent.

Large 1,5 kg  heavy cleaver/ double side scraper of quartzite.

Chopping tool( front and dorsal view) made by 4 bifacial placed blows. This artifact is heavily weathered due to its position at the surface and/ or geological conditions of the surrounding soil (e.g. coarse sands)
Compared with pebble tool cores  from Creswell Crags (60.000 -40.000 BP) but the Kempen pebbles  come from a much older context.

Drawings of found artifacts of MA4 locations

Same ( local) technique in the whole area

Both at the sections of  MA6, MA4 and MA1, - same relative altitude, but separated in distance over 16 kilometers  from each other- the same technique was applied. For another group of small tools, the comparative appliance of technique  was visible in the sections  MA7 and MA1 - sites are separated  over 20 km.
The main objective, the division of a tool in a butt handle for grip and a large  cutting edge, would have been the precise projection of debitage for almost every tool found in the sections.

These hammerstones  in a Mode 2 tool technology, are used only for short time

Cross cut of a common chopping tool, showing bifacial "flaking"  technique combined with trimming , the last technique used to fine- shaping one side of the artifact, like some sort of "retouch"
Quartz chopping tools from the MA1 section. Quartz tools range from unifacial choppers and spheroids till bifacial chopping tools awls  and picks
Micro -choppers and even micro- chopping tools are a normal part of the assemblages found in the Kempen area. This demonstrates the artifacts  most likely were made at a Pleistocene channel edge- beach , where the fine gravels were exposed. These former beaches served as the local  production sites: artifacts do not show any signs of transport and  debitage waste with very small dimensions has been  found at these sites. Flake angles are similar at all tools.  Step fractures indicate the use of a bipolar technique. We must not confuse such tools with normally found crushed stones, which are totally different with random flake patterns see for examples crushed stones wiki and another image here (Elamsand.com) and crushed gravel
Pointed flakes and cores : a logical 'step' in the Mode 2 technology ?
Percussion waves are rare on grained quartzite artifacts. At the left side of this artifact the three parts with shadow forms a part of three percussion waves. The impact point is at the bottom of the artifact, at the white dot. 
Quartzite mini choppers from the MA1 PHH- 10 site
Left: unifacial flaked, two strikes / 1 strike top; right artifact: the flaking  ended in at least 4 steps; the working edge has been damaged by use; locus PHH 8L. The artifact at the right is showing  step fractures, typical for bipolar reduction, but usually such steps are visible at the distal end.
Typical quartz cores and flakes, some of the cores served as a core- tool, others as quartz chopper. The used quartz is homogeneous in grain size and was very suitable for processing; milky quartz could even be used for the production of small flakes. Quartz tools are among pebble tools difficult to recognize. Man- made tools are recognized by features such as 'steps' at the working  edge, repeated unidirectional strikes, or, multidirectional strikes in case of chopping tools. The bifacial concept was present at quartz, made in a bipolar technique.

The applied tool technology in the whole investigated area seems to be homogeneous and is based on a local Chopper Chopping Tool Tradition. Local, because it has been adapted to the available pebble clasts of the Kempen area. Local, because there is a strong local appearance compared to assemblages found elsewhere in Europe.The study of this variety could bring more light in connections between local sites, and moreover, between comparable tool production sites from North Western Europe.For this reason, at first the chronostratigraphical framework must be updated and fine -tuned.

Notes on post- depositional processes and possible damage to pebbles in the high terrace

It was Francois Bordes (3), who already warned for damages of stones, making them look like man-made tools. Such situation could appear in disturbed geological contexts,  like i.c. forest clearing activities.
Indeed, geological processes and human activities ( fluvial transport, sediment compaction, trampling ) could provide such "pseudo - tools"( Peacock, 1991; Hardaker, 2009).
So the  mechanical influence by forest clearing activities or trampling damage / slope wash damage cannot be ruled out.
In trampling experiments (Shea, Klenck, 1992; Pargeter 2011; Jennings 2011) it has been established the substrate is a very important factor for the emergence of trampling damage on flint and milky quartz. Though quartzite was not involved in these experiments in some way this would also be the fact for quartzite, though rounded pebbles are so very hard that breaking them in experiments was very difficult.
In the sandy substrate of the Kempen region, in original strata, pebbles with natural blows do not occur frequently. At eroded surfaces however, especially those used as paths, we distinguish a different pattern of damage, probably depending on use of the paths, the type of gravel deposits and the lower substrate of the path ( loam, clay from underlying horizons). In case of trampling, mostly one single blow is noticed but this is hardly the fact in case for the  rounded pebbles especially the brown quartzite pebbles. This is also noticed  on gravel pavement, where even cars drive and the pebble remains intact because of it rounded shape and hardness, even at a hard substratum like loam: in such cases the pebbles are pressed in the loam.
So in case of surface findings, the possibilities of trampling effects  must always be kept in mind.
However, the obviously controlled flaking, often in a bipolar technique (4),
( providing effective, useful tools instead of useless random broken pebbles),(5)  the evidence of many impact points made by direct percussion visible on the surface of numerous pebbles and the large amount of artifacts ( over 3000 at MA4 -1) makes it believable these assemblages ( found at 15 different locations practically at the same altitude) are man-made. Another important thing is the fact that at other, comparable eroded surfaces nearby ( less than 200 m,  demonstrating the same gravel horizons and with a same substratum)  not even a single chopper / tool form, or even random broken pebbles could be found, and geofacts are very rare.  Moreover: during the 3 years of searching for such tools, anything like the assemblage  was never found, not even resembling. Another important fact, the substrate ( i.c. coarse sand) would give trampling results like notches and retouches. These are almost absent in the assemblage.  Even pseudo- artifacts in the pebble tool tradition are difficult to find in the Kempen region ( and in South Limburg), maybe this explains why these tool-types are not noticed.

Unless these notifications, a by human activities disturbed geological context must always be under suspect and criticism is necessary .

For this reason, experimental production of Mode 1 tools, similar to finds from the Kempen region have been carried out. See : experimental production of pebble tools ( part 3) ( direct link of :Arbannig, /experimental-production-of-pebble-tools.html). This also means, the discussion  on such artifacts remains necessary.

Mode 1 and Mode 2 tools

The main applied technique is a Mode 1- technique ( Clark, 1977) , in a regional variability of the Acheulean tradition. The mode 1 technique in this case would not only refer to the technological knowledge  of the toolmakers but rather depend on the possibilities of the raw material source. As Mode 2 usually is associated with the presence of the biface, I can distinguish a possible  transition to the proto - biface in only 1 % of the total assemblage ( and this would be less, because all small artifacts are not yet collected). Proto - bifaces ( "preformed bifaces ", often amygdaloidal ) do have a certain 'concurrence ' from 'simple crude cleavers'  that might have been more appropriate for the jobs these early hominids had to carry out.
In the assemblage, cores ( also defined as core tools) are present, and several flakes seem to have been functional as unretouched knives. Tools do not carry any signs of esthetical influence by the toolmakers; lots of them are fully asymmetric, crude and hardly reworked. Secondary retouch is almost absent, showing a Mode 1 element. As the flaking technique on the tools show a diversification in flakes for the grip handle and flakes for the working edge, I think the typology is best described as Developed Oldowan B.
See also the image at the Smithsonian website (image Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institute) showing identical flaking patterns like those found in the Kempen area.

Mode 1 limitations and diversity 

Several  artifacts are flaked around the complete circumference, but on one surface only, so that when the cobble is turned over only the original rock surface, known as cortex, is visible, called 'sumatraliths' by Marwick (2007) (6) 
At the same time, in this chopper chopping tool complex, proto- bifaces  are present ( made on small pieces). The question is, why so much artifacts are unifacial processed, with a minimum effort. Blows, assumed to have been placed only for a better grip on the artifacts are common and tools with more than two regular such placed blows are rare. Most tools show simple bifacial strikes to produce simple chopping tools.

Tool production at the MA sites: direct hard hammer percussion using an anvil . The blank pebble (c) is placed on the  anvil  (a) for percussion under low angle and struck with a hard hammer (pebble b). the result is a concave shaped, point on the blank pebble and a flake, both to be used as possible tools. This was proved by experimental production of such tools, see experimental production of pebble tools at this weblog

(Above) Big chopper, 1,3 kilos found in the region south of Maastricht, thought to belong to another period than finds from the MA4 location: the context is loess. The flake removals on the surface are placed sophisticated, and are different from those from the sandy areas.

Quartz chopping tool from the region south of Maastricht (Above, Below)

(Above)Typical quartzite core from the MA4 site. flakes were also found at the site, but they are not analysed yet. This core could have served as a tool, but is unclear.

(Above) Pyramidoid core, not secondary used as a tool.

 Grey quartzite cores, with quartz veins from MA4; this type of stone is much more difficult to be processed. For this reason  tools from this stone type  always are core- tools.

( image above) Quartzite pieces without cortex can appear in a pointed shape,  possibly serving as pointed tools ( click to enlarge) The fracture plane is flat as a result of direct percussion to split a pebble.

(Image above, click to enlarge) The simple modifications on the pebbles made efficient tools. We distinguish the same type of adaptations on the very small pebbles  ( producing choppers/ chopping tools)  as well as on the very large  pebbles/ cobbles. Thus indicating the tools were made by the same hominids, maybe during different environmental conditions, depending on the climate.

(Image above) Surface find of a fine granulated flake ( 4 cm long) from Lorraine, Moselle area. We distinguish the impact point at the bottom left side of the flake, the flake scar is still visible and the curving lines of percussion are very well visible. We notice a light spot at the impact point. This type of flakes are not common in the Kempen area. They probably come from a different period, but also originate from a river terrace ( area of Thionville France, Moselle terrace , image by Jean-Yves Ringenbach )

A closer look at local pebble tool fabrication (MA6), some examples

 In the tool production at the MA- sites, the technical approach is preconceived by:
- the length of the finger
- an effective "bifacial" controlled flaking using direct percussion techniques

The image (left) of a pebble tool with grip from the MA6 , is taken as an example for tool production strategy at the sites. Top image: (A) large scar from flake removal for working ( cutting/ cleaving) edge (F); (B) flake removal for the position of the thumb; Bottom image: (C) scar of flake removal , made for the position of the finger (D), and (E) additional flake removal for position of another finger(tip) on the artifact.

(Left) Flake removals on a pebble, still visible after alteration

 (Left) Retouch s.l. on two different artifact types, left a flake and right a small flat pebble

 (Left) Bifacial adaptations are made for a better grip on the artifact (chopping tool)

General  applied technique in the biggest part of the  Oldowan type Kempen- assemblages
Splitting of pebbles
In the assemblages, flakes occur in low numbers. In case of flakes, they are the result of the primary or secondary flaking after the pebble has been laterally split.
Flakes do not show expressive bulbs, but the scar of the blow is mostly visible at the opposite site of the flake.
(This image is to yellow). Flakes could be  the lesser, 'thin' part of a split pebble ( split in  unbalanced ratio, e.g. 1/3 - 2/3  where the 1/3 part is the flake), or be a 'blade core'where the original flaked part was too thick, so it was stroke again to get a more thin, useful flake ( right bottom).

Secondary retouch
The fabrication of the tool by flaking is called the primary retouch, so secondary retouch can be regarded as re- shapening the artifact. In fact such thing often has been done on the surface and the edges of a stone artifact, to give it a better shape or working edge. In the assemblages, secondary retouch is not a frequent applied technique.
An example of secondary retouch we find in the image below, a flake made on a split pebble, with a distal retouched edge ( point of impact left below), the scar at the bottom of the artifact, hardly visible, is made by splitting.

The secondary retouch on this flake's edge is in reality the result of a bipolar technique .

Quartz is a normally used raw material in the assemblages.The numbers of quartz artifacts are relative low compared to the whole assemblage, estimated some 10 %. The reason for this is twofold: at first there is the sample strategy, it is often very difficult to establish man-made quartz tools from naturally broken pieces, so only the more obvious, clearly man- made objects are collected. The other reason is, among the available quartz  pieces. obviously  the choice of early hominids was made to use only the finest quality quartz . Quartz often is used to make pics; two  large cobbles with a working part  and handle part were identified as hammers.
Quartz tools from the MA4 site; only finest quality quartz was used. Surfaces show bright patinas.
Quartz tools from MA1, context paleosol, assumed from the eperiod of the Holsteinian interglacial (MIS11, late MIS 10)
A proximal fracture at a well placed blow  on a very small fine grained quartz resulted in a small working edge,
but the edge is corrugated ( by use?)

Two major strikes and one additional strike were placed to make this quartz pick  tool
The possibilities in processing quartz to make  tools are very limited; e.g. the limit for the number of blows is two, trimming is a general processing method and in this way picks can be made rather successfully.  
In the small tool assemblages of the Belgian Kempen area, quartz is a commonly used raw material; but mostly we find small core- tools, unifacial and bifacial, small flakes, and very rare, small bifacial points  like this one.

The chaine opératoire and function of the site

In the chaine operatoire in the assemblages all operators are present, starting at tool production and ending in rejection. It is assumed, this chaine operatoire is generally short, as no intense used tools were found. The logic explanation for this would be, the abundance of raw material made it needless to use tools over long time. In the assemblages, there is no distinct between 'tested cores' hammerstones, used choppers, debitage waste or large cutting tools, such as cleavers and proto- bifaces.
This short chaine operatoire combined with the large numbers of tools makes it very believable we deal with real habitation sites, that possible have been used over long period. This conclusion is also based on the fact, in the site -complexes there are scattered patterns of large concentrations of tools /debitage that cover more large areas such as 300 x 400 m or or -estimated-  bigger areas.

Some notes on  the taphonomy of the artifacts

One thing when determining "surface"finds is to look at signs of alteration. This alteration process after deposition has been influenced by many circumstances, geological, chemical, and by later human activities ( such as recent, fresh breaking patterns). Artifacts, embedded in fluvial sediments show less alteration compared to artifacts discarded on a bedrock (Mishra et al. 2007).
For flint artifacts, generally a patina on the surface indicates it is a prehistoric artifact. This is on the other hand not without discussion. See the article at this web-log : patina on artifacts
For pebble tools, we see a similar, more reliable characterization.
The weathering impact on an artifact is, like argued by many others,  depending on its position in the horizons. Remarkable for the Kempen -assemblages is, frost ridges hardly occur, indicating long term buried contexts.
The 'fresh" appearance of many artifacts however is merely an illusion: at better sight, we distinguish mineralization effects, such as influences of iron, shining patina's ( especially on quartz ((7) and discoloration effects.
Patina on two different pebble tools from the same type of quartzite pebble. The left one is showing a recent damage spot in the middle ( dull), where no patina has been build yet. Beside of this patina we notice oxidation and other mineralization stains.
The impact point of this flake is still visible as a light spot (top of  flake). This lighter place has  the same alteration ( mineralization) as the whole  surface. From the impact point, a bulb might be provoked, showing grain- wave patterns at the flake's surface.

From the same sites: Arbannig : two different phases in the tool production

Artifacts/ geofacts or trampled implements

The small- broken- gravels at the blue surface are ordinary gravels, used as pavement. This naturally random broken gravel does not show any controlled patterns or concept in the patterns.
At the red surface, small tool- artifacts from the MA1 section show the 'flaking' at small  gravels, to achieve a cutting edge.

(Above) Ordinary gravels, from a pavement where the gravels are random broken, without any concept; in a way they have a same appearance as pebble tools, but at closer look they miss the characteristic features of flaked and trimmed pebbles
Assumed artifacts from the MA1 section, showing low angle edges and flaking patterns  to  make a cutting edge  or a point on small pebbles ; at the surface of  the flint pieces we distinguish bulbs and expressive centrifugal formed percussion waves.
Adapted tool forms on various raw materials at site PHH 7A; two blows placed on a small flake are a usual pattern: one blow placed under steep angle ( > 80 degrees) and one placed by a low angle strike (< 50 degrees)

Production of large tools
Apparently random placed blows on large cobbles are in reality very well placed blows to perform a grip handle  ( for separate fingers!) on the artifact, and an efficient cutting edge. The technique here is not preconceived, it looks like the toolmakers  valued  the cobble and placed the blows, depending on original shape, quality of the stone  and the desired end- form, depending on the task the tool was produced for.

Production of small tools
Part of the quartzite and quartz ( pebble) tools from the various assemblages has small dimensions, ( (> 1,5 cm - 3 cm) and could be regarded as belonging to a micro chopper - chopping tool complex made in a bipolar hard hammer technique(  see eg. J.Harrod, Originsnet index - Later Acheulean Stone Tools 500.000 - 100.000 BP) and indicated to have emerged at OIS 11, corresponding with the Holsteinian  And see a comparable imagegallery at OriginsNet at Arago,Bilzingsleben, Vertesszöllös
In the MA1 section, rock chrystal quartz has been found among vein quartz. The number of quartz artifacts in the small tool  assemblages is rather high compared with big tools, where quartz is very rare. In the quartz production at the sites of MA1 / PHH7, PHH7A, and PHH8 L the quartz tools consist mainly of small pointy tools (picks) and cores with additional flaking: flakes of quartz were found of which some show indications of secondary retouch  on the edges. In the same assemblages we find  sandstone, quartzite and flint for small tool production.

Connections with other finds from the region?
At the east Maas/ Meuse riverbank large amounts of small tools were found by J. van Esch, described by Musch (1989: 19). This is called Boukoulian, micro- core techniques applied on pebbles and flint. In fact, similarities are big; the tools were found in a sandy area, and were attributed to the Holsteinian period. If there is any relation between these finds is not yet clear.
Very big similarities of the assemblage is noticed with possible Lower Palaeolithic artifacts from Khaleseh Iran  ( Alibaigi  ‎2009) with a direct link to the image here

see also the articles on experimental making of pebble tools at this weblog
1. New experiments in the production of pebble tools

and the presentation Early Acheulean in the Belgian Kempen .ppt

Notes in the text + references

(1) The tool assemblage is characterized by tool - types and technologies known from the Acheulean period in Europe, referring to a Developed Oldowan; this mode 2 technology stage indicates a possible Acheulian date, but this is not necessary, so I prefer to call the tools Acheulean -like. This so called Chopper Chopping Tool Tradition coexisted during the Acheulean with the usual biface technologies.

(2) Kuman mentions the fact ... (cit.) 'It is  not uncommon  at  early  sites  to  find  some raw  materials preferred over  others  or more  frequently associated with certain tool or core types (eg., Leakey 1971)'. in The Kempen assemblages, the brown - most fine grained - pebble was a desired raw material, for the production of choppers and chopping tools. see  Kuman ;The  Oldowan Industry  from  Sterkfontein:  raw  materials  and core forms PDF in : aspects of Africa
(3) see also: Tools underfoot McBrarthy et al. , George Robert Rapp, Christopher L. Hill - 2000;  
(4) For examples of  the bipolar technique, similar to finds from the Kempen region see the direct image link : http://www.earthmeasure.com/bipolar/BU/BUbatt.JPEG
(5) in the assemblage the  regularity in controlled bifacial flaking is noticed  ( 1 strike at one side against 2 strikes at the opposite side), the making of pics, and the concept of "one side of the tool is the working edge, the other side the butt"; this together with conchoidal blows, placed in logical series, following an over all projection of a debitage concept
(6) see the article of Ben Marwick: Approaches to Flaked StoneArtefact - PDF   Archeology in Thailand: A Historical Review Silpakorn University International Journal Vol.7, 2007 pp. 53
(7) See the notice  of patina on artifacts by A.P. Okladnikov (1972), in: History of civilizations of Central Asia: earliest times to 700 B. C. The dawn of civilization, Volume 1; UNESCO, 1996; also noticed by Sankalia (1985) and Oakley (2007).

Selected references

Alibaigi, S & Khosravi, S (2009) Tepeh Khaleseh: a new Neolithic and Palaeolithic site in the Abharrud basin in north-western Iran; Antiquity Volume 083 Issue 319 March 2009

Ambrose, S.H. ( 2001   ) Palaeolithic technology and human evolution  ; Science vol 291 / 1748-1753
Clark, J.G.D. (1977 ) World Prehistory in New Perspective, 3 ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hardaker, C.  (2009) Calico Redux Artifacts or Geofacts?  SCA Proceedings, Volume 22 (2009)
Leakey, L.S.B.  Leakey, M.D.  Tobias; P.V. (1972 )Olduvai Gorge, 1951-1961: Excavations in beds I and II, 1960-1963
Peacock, E  (1991) Distinguishing between Artifacts and Geofacts: A Test Case from Eastern England
Journal of Field Archaeology Vol. 18, No. 3 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 345-361 Maney  Publishing
Soressi , M, Dibble , H.L.  (2003) Multiple Approaches to theStudy of Bifacial Technologies PDF


The thinking hominid  Research horizons University of Cambridge - article

Een wandeling langs de geologische tijdschaal pdf (Kempen)

Acheulean Tools:  Multi-use implements of the Lower Paleolithic- article

Pleistocen Hominin evolution LAB , station 6) tools ( descriptions of Acheulean tool technology)

Bipolar Flaking: Variability or chaos by Christopher Hardaker, Tucson USA, about experimental bipolar techniques applied on quartzites, ( similar as tool fabrication of early hominids in the MA project)

OriginsNet. Boukoulian, Netherlands, Microlithic sculptures, c. 400.000 BP

Construction aggregate WIKI

K. Kuman ;The  Oldowan Industry  from  Sterkfontein:  raw  materials  and core forms PDF in : aspects of Africa

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