2012-11-13

Mesolithic finds near Bruisterbosch (Limburg)

At a field near Bruisterbosch, ( location in the Community of  Eijsden -Margraten )  named "BR2",  an eroded surface is visible, where small gravels ( cross-cut ca. <4 cm) are exposed in the loess.
This uncovered part of the field gives an opportunity to have an insight in possible  pre- Neolithic activities at this location.
Indeed, at a surface of ca. 20 x 20 meters, a limited number ( ca. 20) of small  flint tools were detected.
The flint tools comprise retouched blade negatives and small ( retouched) bladelets and micro-  flakes.
Some larger flint objects were found, one being a side scraper (with  patina) and another a core tool, used for producing flakes..
Limited numbers of flint tools could  be interpret as a short term hunting  / activity camp.
The idea is,  that a number of activities carried out here, possibly are related to a small site near the  Banholt flint mine, ca 3 km further, because  at another field, BR4, also a very limited number of (possible) Mesolithic flint implements were found ( within a small bladelet core).

- core types at BR2, retouched at the edges
-Retouched flint implements from BR2

-Location BR4  is a field located near a large depression, oriented to the southwest.

 At the filed BR4 an eroded part  at a hillslope ( with a spheric gradient suggesting this eroded surface existed already during late -Glacial conditions ) shows gravels in combination with dissolved flint.These pleistocene gravels are  containing small numbers of flakes, made of different types of flint, varying between the Hesbaye flint  from Belgium ( imported (?) (1) , flint of Anixhe/ Liers, Belgium with the typical patina  (imported) (2)  local Banholt/ Rijkcholt flint (3)  and a translucent flint type, most likely from fluviatile origine (4)- see image below.


 It is quite well possible these tools were made and used  during the period between the pre-boreal and the earliest LBK in the region. This would indicate the presence of a number of  surface- mining locations in the wider region of Banholt/ Bruisterbosch/ Termaar, located at during the (pre-) Neolithic already exposed hillslopes motly located around/ along the old affluents of the brook that passes by Libeek more to the south. 
This could be an expanding area for the flint mine activites related with the  location at the Banholtergrubbe ( Brounen & Peeters, 1999).
When we look at the vegetation and the landscape during this long period we see between 7250 BC and ca 6650 BC the rise of the hazel - alder bush ( in a so called association of the Alnus-Ulmion), right before the spread of the limetrees in the area ( Janssen, 1960, Bunnik 1999).  
The different types of flint indicate however an early Neolithic period with contacts with the other side of the Maas river ( Lanaye, Liers- Tilice) and this could underline the early LBK date.At a field BR 2, not far from the village of Margraten, two cores waere found, possibly belonging to this early LBK phase, as they look similar to cores found near the Banholtergrubbe.( see image below).
In this case,it is quite well possible, the Banholt area was not only used for the extraction of the local flint, but was already  inhabited by the earliest LBK.  

- Core 1 and 2  from the location BR2, show blade negatives ( < 7cm). Core 3 is found at BR4 and has been secondary used as a hamerstone, for the possibly for production of small flakes, which has been found at the same location.
 
References /internet

Brounen, F.T.S.& H. Peeters (2000/2001) Vroeg-neolithische vuursteenwinning en -bewerking in de Banholtergrubbe (Banholt, gem. Margraten), Archeologie 10, 133-150.
Bunnik, F.P.M. (1999) Vegetationsgeschichte der Lößbörden zwischen Rhein und Maasvon
der Bronzezeit bis in die frühe Neuzeit. Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology. Utrecht University. Utrecht. pp. 1-149.
Janssen, C. R. (1960) On the late-glacial and post-glacial vegetation of South Limburg (Netherlands).
Amsterdam, North-Holland Pub. Co., 1960. Wentia, 4.



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