Regional Limburg (NL) The Palaeolithic & Mesolithic

The Palaeolithic & Mesolithic in ( a part of ) the Rhine - Meuse region   by LJG 2012 (to be updated)

PART 1 The Palaeolithic  

For a brief overview of the vegetation history during the Glacial periods / Palaeolithic see at this blog the page: Prehistoric vegetation history - slides & info

Short overview of the Palaeolithic periods in the region South Limburg
The Palaeolithic period for the South Limburg region has been described in English in several papers and articles.
Especially the Middle Palaeolithic is well investigated by excavations, leading to several publications like   Maastricht - Belvédère (Kolfschoten &  Roebroeks 1985) , Veldwezelt -Hezerwater (Bringmans 2006) and Kesselt - Op de Schans (Van Baelen et al, 2008), and by field prospections, represented from different perspectives by the articles of  De Warrimont ( 2007) Kolen  et al (1999) , Verpoorte (2001) and Deeben et al  (2010).

Lower Palaeolithic ( 1.000.000 BP- ca. 350.000 BP)
From this period, only a little is known for South Limburg. "Officially" (1), the region has never been visited by any Homo- species until ca. 350.000 BP., which also applies to the adjacent areas of Belgium and Germany. Unofficially finds of Lower Palaeolithic stone tools (pebble tools) from South Limburg have been reported by members of APAN (APAN/Extern 13, 2009) (2) See an overview about pebble tools in The Netherlands and Belgium at this blog.
The area could have been inhabited during the Lower Palaeolithic, which is most likely ( Renson, Juvigné; see below) but probably this will be difficult to trace in the Lower Palaeolithic stratigraphy.
It is stated by Roebroeks that Early Middle Palaeolithic or Lower Palaeolithic finds for the region are excluded, because of the special stratigraphical conditions ( "The short chronology") (Roebroeks & Kolfschoten, 1994). This issue is not without discussion , as in the surrounding countries, like France, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain, presence of early humans ( H. heidelbergensis or earlier) has been proven.

Quartz chopping  tool s.s. found in the gravels at Visé Caster. This special quartz type has been established in France in gravels, dating back from the period before the Toul captation, so before 350.000 BP. The Wonck upper terrace has an estimated age of ca 800.000 BP. this pebble chopping tool could have been used by H. heidelbergensis, some 420.000 years ago. The  flaked edge shows an intense shiny patina.

Middle Palaeolithic ( ca 350.000 BP - 30.000 BP) 
The region has not always been inhabited  during this long Middle Palaeolithic period. In the hills of South Limburg, numerous Middle -Paleolithic finds are collected by amateur archaeologists, along the edges of loess plateaus, where the Middle -Pleistocene deposits outcrop.Contrary to surface finds from the Lower Palaeolithic, these artifacts were identified as such, and officially recognized, only on the basis of a combination of morphological characteristics and intense patina, without any stratigraphical context.
The earliest traces from the Middle Palaeolithic were established from the excavations in the Belvédère pit near Maastricht ( Roebroeks 1988).Field-prospections of  De Warrimont and Groenendijk were important to make a good  interpretation about the ( spread of) surface finds in the region ( Glauberman 2006).
During the period between 1981 and 2007 over twenty five Middle Palaeolithic sites have been investigated (De Warrimont, 2007).
Artifacts from the Middle Palaeolithic, collected during field -prospections, often come from eroded parts of the plateau's edge. The artifacts, thus collected, are  identified as such on the basis of a combination of typo- morphological characteristics and intense patina. Artifacts generally are made in a Levallois technique, but the Belgian excavations in Veldwezelt show us the difference within this technique and in artifact- size during different phases of the Middle -Palaeolithic( 1). In 2011 a major discovery took place during excavations near St. Geertruid where in situ  Middle Palaeolithic artifacts werde discovered.
Besides of the large excavations of  Maastricht- Belvédère (1981-1991) another excavation brought us information about the Middle Palaeolithic: the site at Colmont-Pondorosa, notwithstanding the fact, the artifacts were out of primary context. The aim of the excavation was to get a better insight in the history and development of surface complexes at eroded sloping surfaces ( project of Leiden University, Verpoorte et al 2002, Glauberman 2002).

 Typical large Mousterian Levallois flake with heavy white patina from the Belgian Hesbaye region, Middle Palaeolithic period. 

Upper palaeolithic  ( ca. 30.000 BP - 9.700 BP)

The earliest phase of the Upper Palaeolithic, the Aurignacien (ca 35.000 – 29.000 BP) is not known by finds in the region. So it is assumed ( until now) the region was not visited by then. In Middle Limburg, a site at Heythuisen has been  identified to belong to the Gravettien (30.000- 23.000 BP) (Wouters 1984) , but we can assume a general discontinuous habitation, i.e. multiple occupancy during the warmer phases (argued  by Lanting & Van der Plicht 1995/1996, 89)( i.c. possibly the Denekamp interstadial 32 - 28 kya, - auth). 
The Gravettien- site near Heythuisen was discovered about 120- 140 cm deep and special tool-types were Font-Robert tanged points (2) and steep retouched points
Between 23.000 and 18.000 BP, Limburg was inhabited (during the Last Glacial Maximum,( LGM) with the ice sheet cover over Denmark, so too bad climate, (Bosinski 1990, Gamble 1986 , Straus et al 1997). During the period of 18.000 and 13.000 BP. there was a fluctuation between the coming and going of hunters, depending on the climate.Finds from the surface are recognized only by typological comparison with similar (flint) artifacts from neighboring countries.( Driessens 1982; Wouters 1984)

After 13.000 BP, three traditions  are known in the region: the  Magdalenian, the Federmesser -tradition and the Ahrensburg- culture. 
Late- Glacial find locations from the Magdalenian in South Limburg are known from Eijsden- Mesch, Gulpen-Eyserheide en Sweiikhuizen ( Arts & Deeben 1984; Deeben 1992a; Rensink 1993) and comprise small concentrations of artifacts, described as hunting camps (Rensink 1993). Without a reliable dating for the context of the artifacts, as no organic material was found, the artifacts have been placed in the period 13.000 BP -12.000 BP ( Magdalenian 5 -6 ) based on chrono- typological characteristics. In this particular phase, North -West Europe got resettled again.The hunting camps were found near the plateau's edges, and at Eijsden -Mesch, the site was also used for tool production ( from raw material flint- sources from the Voer- valley).
In the period between the Allerød - interstadial period (13.900 till 12.850 BP) and the following  Late -Dryas (11.650 till  12.850  BP) the number of setlements in the wider region increases. At the end of the Magdelenian, the tool- types show an increase of microlithisation: the transitional phase of the Epi-palaeolithic had begun.
Artifacts from the Federmesser  tradition are  not in south Limburg, but at Waubach one site has been used for the mining of flint (Arts, 1988).
Only a few (four) diagnostic small tanged -points of the Ahrensburg -Culture are found in South Limburg. The Ahrensburg is known from the region of Middle- Limburg, (Kessel, Neer, Montfort and Echt).
(images- click to enlarge)

The wider area

(Belgian Flandres)

For the Middle Palaeolithic period in the Belgian -Flandres  connecting loess areas, as mentioned above,  the large excavations like at Veldwezelt -Hezewater were very important. These excavations revealed 'open air' camps in the region, during different periods of the Middle Palaeolithic ( ca 95.000 BP and ca 55.000 BP). This brought a new light on possible surface finds, belonging to H. Neanderthalensis that made open air camps, which might be extrapolated for the situation for example near St. Geertruid (excavations 2011, period 100.000 BP- 70.000 BP). 
In the loess sequences at Hezerwater seven settlement phases were detected , corresponding with palaeo- sols.This site is also important for the geologic knowledge of the region, by the existence of 10 separated horizons.Local eluvium flint nodules ( found in the open air )  were processed by an opportunistic debitage - technique. The Eemian phase ( 115.000 BP- 100.000 BP) was 'empty', no traces of human activity was found. This is in concordance with the neighboring countries (England, Northern France, parts of Germany)  ,where the Eemian period was also inhabited. Tools found in this excavation were unifacial scrapers and laminar assemblages. See conclusions in English from the Thesis "Middle Palaeolithic Veldwezelt Hezerwater" [ chapter 8, by Mr. P. Bringmans, 2006)
The Kesselt excavation of  1983 - 2006 revealed a  Middle Palaeolithic flint core debitage location, dated at ca 300.000 BP (Van Baelen et al 2007).

At Kanne, just south of Maastricht,  an international important  Magdalenian site has been excavated in the Geer/ Jeker valley. Apart from cores, in the assemblage  tools like blades, split blades (Lame tronquées), burins, scrapers and drills ( type bec simple) were found. This assemblage was made on local Hesbaye flint. The flint of the Meuse region was very important to Magdalenian hunters. The Meuse type flint ( = flint of Lanaye- limestone)  has been found back in caves in the Belgian Ardennes region ( Straus & Orphal 1997a) [ Magdalenian sites: Trou des Blaireaux à Vaucelles, Trou du Frontal, Trou des Nutons,  Trou de Chaleux, Trou da Somme]and the Neuwied Basin in Germany (Floss 1994). The open air sites in the Meuse region were used for the production of tools from the high quality flint, to transport the  produced blades to their caves, located at affluents of the Meuse river in the Ardennes ( Srauss & Orphal 1997b). This would also be depending on the season, when the hunters planned in the annual migration the production of  the tools in the Meuse region ( Rensink 1993).Backed bladelets , part of the weaponry of the Magdalenian hunters were found abundant in the Ardennes caves, indicating this was a hunting region, contrary to the Lower Meuse region ( inclusive sites likes Alsdorf in Germany) (Otte 1984) , where the weaponry  was absent or less abundant. ( Sano 2009). This not only underlines the importance of the Meuse region as a raw source region for the production of tools, but also a different use of this region compared with other regions like the Ardennes, the sandy areas of Middle Limburg.  A parallel was noticed by the author  for the Mesolithic in the Dutch South Limburg area: for the  Mesolithic, in surface scatters  mainly small bladelets occur and points are less abundant.
(Belgium Walloon)
A find from the Lower Palaeolithic in Belgium would be a quartz core from "La Belle Roche" at Sprimont, with a possible date between 500.000 BP and  350.000 BP, based on a bio -chronology (from palaeontology)(Draily and Cordy 1997). Others would even plea for the presence of a  Homo -species in the Higher parts of Belgium (La "Haute Belgique") about 1 million years ago, based on solifluction - horizons in the caves of  "La Belle Roche"in Sprimont. ( Renson, Juvigné, Cordy,1997).
Many finds from the Middle Palaeolithic period in Belgium - Walloon, collected in the twentieth century by Mr..Louis Eloy ( who  lived from 1918 till 2002 ), are presented and described as a synthesis of the Middle Palaeolithic in the book by Di Modica, "Paléolithiqe moyen en Wallonie, La collection Louis Éloy" ( Di Modica, Jungels, 2009).However, the closest location next to South Limburg, visited by Mr. Éloy  is Otrange (B) or Andrimont(B), ca. 30 km away from the Dutch border.
In an overview  of the Palaeolithic and other periods of the Curtius Museum at Liege, Otte describes important finds from the Walloon region (Otte, 1978). He reports finds from  the Upper - Acheulean period 
from the Hélin - pit in the valley of Haine. From Liège, Waremme, and Visé isolated finds of bifaces  from the Riss-Würm period were reported, often described by Marcel De Puydt. The Micoquien period seems to be absent for Belgium. The Earliest Palaeolithic assemblage from Belgium were excavated from fluvial sediments at  Mesvin; the dicovered Mesvinian -tool-  technology , would correspond with the English Clactonian (MIS 8, Ashton 2010).
In Belgium bifaces are reported from the region of  Liège ((Visé, Waremme)  and the region of Namur (Spy).Contrary to south Limburg, the auragnician has been found at Spy and seems to have a more southern occupance, with the Belgian Ardennes as the most northern boundary.

In Germany, the name- giving location in the Neandertal is important for the Middle Palaeolithic (location at Mettmann and museum).The excavations since the discovery of a bone fragments  in 1856/  1857 have revealed much information about the Neandertal species that lived here during the final episode of the Neandertal -era..The discovered Neandertal bones have been dated  between 50.000 and 30.000 BP. The Magdalenian in the German adjacent area is represented by a site in Alsdorf (Löhr, 1979)
- to be updated -

Arbannig publications (Palaeolithic) 

Proto- bifaces from Belgium
Tool types and raw material of Acheulian -like tools  in the Belgian Kempen area

In preparation:
in: Stone age activities at Mt. St. Pierre (Belgium)

ARbannig collections ( under construction)


(2) Tanged points with leaf-shaped blades of plano-convex section. Only worked extensively on one face. Dated to Perigordian Phase V in France.See a PDF of ( ed. Roebroeks, Mussi, Svoboda, Fennema): hunters of the golden age, the mid upper palaeolithic of Eurasia  30.000 BP- 20.000 BP


Arts, N. (1988) A survey of Terminal Palaeolithic archaeology in the Southern Netherlands. In: M. Otte (dir.), De la Loire à l’Oder. Les cilivisation du Paléolithique Final dans le Nord-Ouest européen (British Archaeological Reports. International Series 444 ), Oxford, pp 287-356.
Arts, N. & J. Deeben, (1983:)  Archeologisch onderzoek in een late Magdalénien-nederzetting te Sweikhuizen, gemeente Schinnen. Een overzicht van de resultaten van 1982, Archeologie in Limburg 16, 2-5.
Arts, N. & J. Deeben, (1984) Voortgezet onderzoek naar de Magdalénien nederzetting te Sweikhuizen, gemeente Schinnen, Archeologie in Limburg 22, 23-28.
Ashton N. &  and Scott  B.  ( 2010)  The relationship between Britain and mainland Europeduring the early Middle Palaeolithic (MIS 8-6) RTF article (Chapter 7)
Berg, van den, M.W. (1996) Fluvial sequences of the Maas: a 10 Ma record of neotectonics and climate change at various time-scales. – Wageningen, University of Wageningen
Bosinski, G. (1990) Homo Sapiens: L'Histoire des Chassuers du Paleolithique Superieur en Europe (40,000 - 10,000 av. J.-C.). Paris: Editions Errance.
Bringmans, P.M.M.A., Vermeersch, P.M. . Groenendijk,A.J Meijs, E.P.  Warrimont J.P. de & Cordy, J.-M. (2002b) Middle Palaeolithic Veldwezelt-Hezerwater one year on. Interimreport on the Veldwezelt-Hezerwater Project’s campaign of excavations 2002. Het Sleufje, University Gent. – The Diggers’ Project 8, 1B, 2: 1-15.

Cahen, D. (1984)  Paléolithique inférieur et moyen en Belgique In: Cahen, D. & Haesaerts, P. (eds.), Peuples Chasseurs de la Belgique préhistorique dans leur cadre naturel, 133-155.
Deeben J., Hiddink H,. Huisman D.J.,. Müller A, Schokker J. , Wallinga, J. ( 2010)  Middle Palaeolithic artefact migration due to periglacial processes

Deeben, J. (1992a). Een nederzetting uit het Magdalénien te Sweikhuizen. In:

G. Bauchhenβ & H.-H. von Prittwitz u. Gaffron (Hrsg.), Speurwerk. Archeologische monumentenzorg in de Euregio Maas-Rijn (= Kunst und Altertum am Rhein 136), Mainz, 497-502.
Di Modica, K.;Cécile Jungels (2009) Paléolithique moyen en Wallonie : la collection Louis Eloy

Musée de la Préhistoire en Wallonie.[S.l.] : Culture Patrimoine culturel, . Collections du Patrimoine culturel, 2
Draily C. & Cordy J.-M., (1997) L'industrielithique de La Belle-Roche à Sprimont (Liège, Belgique) : Paléolithique inférieur. Notae Praehistoricae, 17/1997 pp. 11-20
Eelco, R (2011) Eyserheide. A Magdalenian Open-Air Site In The Loess Area Of The Netherlands And Its Archaeological Context. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 42

Leiden University Press
Floss, H., 1994. Rohmaterialversorgung im Paläolithikum des Mittelrheingebietes,Monographien des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Band 21. Rudolf Habelt Verlag, Bonn.Franken, E., Veil, S., 1983. Der Magdalenien-Fundplatz Gönnersdorf VII. Die Ste

Gamble, C. S. (1986) The Palaeolithic Settlement of Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.,
Glauberman, P.J. (2002): Middle Palaeolithic Surface Sites in Southern Limburg, the Netherlands: The Case Study of Colmont-Ponderosa, and Developing Questions for Future Research Leiden (thesis University Leiden).
Kolen, J,  D. DeLoecker, D,  Groenendijk, A.J.  de Warrimont J.P. , (1999): Middle Palaeolithic surface scatters: how informative? A case study from southern Limburg (the Netherlands), in: W. Roebroeks & C. Gamble (eds), The Middle Palaeolithic occupation of Europe, p.177-191.
Kolfschoten, T. van, ( 1985) The Middie Pleistocene (Saalian) and Late Pleistocene (Weichselian) mammal faunas from Maastricht-Belvédère, (Southern Limburg, the Netherlands), pages 45-74.

Kolfschoten, Th. van; Roebroeks, W., (1985) The Maastricht-Belvédère project: an intermediate synthesis, pages 119-121.
Lanting, J.N. & J. van der Plicht, (1995/1996) De 14C-chronologie van de Nederlandse pre- en

protohistorie, II: Laat-Paleolithicum, Palaeohistoria 37/38, 71-127.
Löhr  H., (1979) Der Magdalenien-Fundplatz Alsdorf, Kreis Aachen-Land. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der funktionalen Variabilität jungpaläolithischer Stationen Eberhard-Karls-Universität, 

Löhr, H (1988) Der Magdalénien-Fundplatz Alsdorf, Kreis Aachen-Land: Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der funktionalen Variabilität jungpaläolithischer Stationen 
Otte, M (1978) . La préhistoire à travers les collections du Musée Curtius de Liège.  Eugene Wahle ed Liège

Rensink, E. (1993:) Moving into the North: Magdalenian Occupation and Exploitation of the Loess Landscapes of Northwestern Europe; thesis, Leiden.
Renson V., Juvigné É. & Cordy J.-M.( 1997) L'Homme était-il présent en haute Belgique il y a un million d'années ?. Notae Praehistoricae, 17/1997pp7-9.

Roebroeks, W. (1988)  From Find Scatters to Early Hominid Behaviour. A Study of Middle Palaeolithic Riverside Settlements at Maastricht-Belvédère (The Netherlands) (= Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 21), Leiden 
Roebroeks W, &  Kolfschoten T.  (1994) The earliest occupation of Europe: a short chronology ; Leiden univ., fac. pre- protohistory, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands ( PDF)

Ryssaert , C ( 2004)  MesvinIV opnieuw bekeken Het technologisch onderzoek van een vroege Mousteriaan site PDF NP 24 pp 9- 15 
Sano K. (2009) Huting evidence from stone artefacts from the Magdalenian cave stie Bois Laiterie, Belgium: a fracture analysis Quartär 56: 67-86

Sano K, ( 2012)  Functional variability in the Magdalenian of north-western Europe: A lithic microwear analysis of the Gönnersdorf K-II assemblage Department of Archaeology, Tohoku University, Kawauchi 27-1, Aoba Ward, Sendai 983-8576, Japan
Straus, L.G., Orphal, J., 1997a. The Bois Laiterie Magdalenian lithic Industry. In:Otte, M., Straus, L.G. (Eds.), 1997a. La Grotte du Bois Laiterie. ERAUL 80, Liège,pp. 219
Straus, L.G., Orphal, J., 1997b. Bois Laiterie and the Magdalenian of Belgium: inter-assemblage comparisons. In: Otte, M., Straus, L.G. (Eds.), 1997b. La Grotte duBois Laiterie. ERAUL 80, Liège, pp. 337
Verpoorte, A. (2001) TechnologicalAnalysis of Middle Palaeolithic (surface-)collections RTF

Verpoorte, A., M. Langbroek & B. Voormolen (2002): Het Midden-Paleolithicum van het Heuvelland. Resultaten van hetveldwerk te Colmont (gemeente Voerendaal). Historische en Heemkundige Studies in en rondom het Geuldal 12, 133-152. 
Vermeersch, P. Lauwers, R Van Peer, P. (1985) Un site magdalénien à Kanne (Limbourg belge) Archaeologia Belgica vol:I, 1 pages:17-55

Warrimont J.P.L.M.N. de (2007) Prospecting Middle Palaeolithic open-air sites inthe Dutch-Belgian border area near Maastricht  ; Archaeological Society of Limburg (AVL) in : Middle Palaeolithic sites near Maastricht PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Northwest Europe 1, 3
Warrimont, J.P.L.M.N.  de  & A.J. Groenendijk, (1995): Middenpaleolithische oppervlaktevindplaatsen in de Voerstreek, Archeologie in Limburg 65, 33-44. 
Wouters A. (1984)  Een jongpaleolithische vindplaats behorend tot een der componenten van het Gravettien (Périgordien). Door in Archaeologische Berichten 15 blz 70-124.

Zagwijn, W.H. (1985)  An outline of the Quaternary stratigraphy of the Netherlands. Geologie en Mijnbouw 64: 17-24.
Zonneveld , J.I.S. (1957)  River Terraces and Quaternary Chronology in the Netherlands. Geologie & Mijnbouw N.S. 19: 277.
Interesting websites
About Maastricht Belvedere : Grensschap EU, Landmark1 Belvédère (in Dutch)
About  the excavations of Vrakelsberg / Colmont Pondorosa Langbroek , Verpoorte and Voormolen, 2002 Het Paleolithicum van de Vrakelsberg en omstreken, een verkennend onderzoek PDF (in Dutch)
Province Museum of Limburg on history and archaeology, extended collections/ education Limburgs Museum Venlo  ( with archaeological collections)
A selection of images from museums from Belgium / database AICIM online collections from Belgium
Scientific article Noorderlicht about Neandertal tools from St. Geertruid : Gereedschappen Neanderthalers ontdekt in Limburg 
Late Middle -Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic Central Europe: Bolus M. , Conard  N.J. (2001)  The late Middle Paleolithic and earliest Upper Paleolithic in Central Europe andtheir relevance for the Out of Africa hypothesis   (PDF) Quaternary International 75 pp29 - 40
Nandertal museum in Germany at found location of the first Neandertal man : Mettmann Mettmann Museum

Websites with Palaeolithic images from The Netherlands

Lower - Middle Palaeolithic finds in The Netherlands ( some in discussion)
Artifacts from Sandpit  "Groeve Maarn" ( collection Offerman-Heykens)
Artifacts from the construction of a highway A28 at Amersfoort "A28 Amersfoort"
Artifact from Soesterberg "Tammer" (Collection Offerman- Heykens)
Artifacts from the pit in Rhenen "Rhenen Industry" (Collection Offerman-Heykens)
Handaxe  Kwintelooijen pit, (Collection Wouters)
Handaxe Kwintelooijen pit ( Collection Lot Deffin)
Handaxe Kwintelooijen pit from Rhine sediments (Collection Edwin van Hage)
European chopper- chopping tool complex - CCC [Wouters, A., Franssen, C. and Kessels, A. (1981)
Images at APAN site

Middle Palaeolithic 'Levallois core' from Molenhoek  image
Middle Palaeolithic scraper from Hoogeveen article (Archeoforum)
Middle Palaeolithic scraper from Corverbos near Hlversum ( find by J. Offerman) image

Impression of Maastricht during the
Bølling interstadial, view from the south
The location named "Krähwinkel" near the German city of Aachen, is still showing the remains of the late Palaeolithic and mesolithic landscape: large swallow ponds  beneath the steep hills of the Wilkinsberg near Aachen Seffent
Vegetation at the Meuse river border during the interstadial periods of the Late Glacial

Some additional litterature about the Palaeolithic in South Limburg and adjacent area

Ashton, N.  Lewis, S &  Stringer, C   (2010 ) Site K: A Middle Palaeolithic Site at Maastricht-Belvédère (Limburg, The Netherlands).  Science Archaologisches Korresponenzblatt 22, 449–460
Blezer, L., De Loecker, D., Kolen, J. (1996)  A Middle Palaeolithic surface scatter at Colmont (Southern Limburg, The Netherlands), Notae Praehistoricae 16, 25-36.
Blezer, L., De Loecker, D., Kolen, J. (1997) De midden-paleolithische vindplaats Colmont-Ponderosa (Ubachsberg). Over de interpretatie van oppervlaktecomplexen, Archeologie in Limburg 71, 6-20
Brounen, F. (1997): Een verlate vondstmelding van enkele Rössener Keile, Archeologie in Limburg 71, 21-23.
Kolen, J., De Loecker, D., Groenendijk, A.J., de Warrimont, J.P. (1999)  Middle Palaeolithic surface scatters: how informative? A case study from southern Limburg (the Netherlands), in: W. Roebroeks & C. Gamble (eds), The Middle Palaeolithic occupation of Europe, Leiden, 177-191.
Langbroek, M. (1998) Maastricht-Belvédère site H: techno-typologie, ruimtelijke spreiding en inter-site context van een Midden-Paleolithische vuursteenscatter, intern rapport Faculteit der Archeologie, Leiden.
Roebroeks, W., Kolen, J., van Poecke, M., van Gijn, A. (1997)  “Site J”: an Early Weichselian (Middle Palaeolithic) flint scatter at Maastricht-Belvedere, the Netherlands, Paléo 9, 143-172.
Roebroeks W. ( 1984) The Middle Palaeolithic Site Maastricht-Belvédère (Southern-Limburg, The Netherlands). A Preliminary Report ; (1984)  vol. 24, no1, pp. 3-17 (1 p. 2/3) Review/Abstract
Warrimont, J.P. de, Groenendijk, A.J. 1993: 100 jaar Rullenvuursteen: een kleurrijke vuursteensoort nader bekeken, Archeologie in Limburg 57, 37-46.

PART 2 The Mesolithic 
A short overview of the Mesolithic in ( a part of ) the Rhine - Meuse region   by LJG 2012 (to be updated)
For a brief  overview of  the vegetation history of the Mesolithic with some slides, see at this blog :  Prehistoric vegetation history - slides & info

1. Introduction
2. On the  Mesolithic landscape of South- Limburg (NL)
3. Biotopes and territories
4. Base camp, hunting / fishing camp/ mixed camps
5. Overview of the Mesolithic periods in South Limburg (NL)
a. The Early Mesolithic:  ca. 9.500- 8.600 BP,  9.200 cal BC– 7.500 cal BC
b. The Middle Mesolithic: ca. 8.600–7.800 BP, ca. 7.500–6.500 cal BC
c. The Late Mesolithic: ca. 7.800–6.500/5.500 BP, ca. 6.500–5.300/4.400 cal BC.
6. Some general remarks on Mesolithic finds from South Limburg (NL)
7. The relation with the adjacent regions of South Limburg during the Upper Palaeolithic- Mesolithic periods
8. Finds from the Mesolithic & discussion

Map of the South Limburg region with the locations ( in characters A- Z, ) named in the text. Green character =Palaeolithic site , red character  = Early Mesolithic site, Blue character  = Middle Mesolithic site, Black character  = Late Mesolithic site.  In purple the names of important regions.

1. Introduction

The Mesolithic ( period of the post-glacial hunter - gatherer groups [def. A.Moure] of South Limburg is not quite well understood and researched. This is due to various causes,of which one is the fact,  amateur archaeologists most heavily visited the areas in the middle of the province of Limburg (especially the region of the Roerstreek  , Vlootbeekdal and the region around Venray (for regional locations see image above, written in pink): (Verhart 2000a) and parts of the province of Noord-Brabant (especially the Kempen, the Peel and the region north of  Tilburg: Arts, 1986, 1987b, 1989; Arts and Deeben1981). Excavations about the Mesolithic only took place at Sweikhuisen (Wouters ,1953; Willems 1969)
Since amateur -archaeologists are the most important source of knowledge about the existence of the  sites in a region, field prospections are very important. Other reasons for the lack of information about the Mesolithic are: the geological conditions of the south of The Netherlands, where the Pleistocene, find bearing  horizons are very easy accessible due to erosion; secondly, the human activities of the Mesolithic people did not leave very 'deep' traces in the soil; thirdly Mesolithic sites usually were visited during over a long period of time or in succession for periods that are far apart from each other, so the type chronology is very difficult to determine. (Arts, Verhart 2004).
In South Limburg, there is another complication: the sometimes abundant Neolithic debris in the field makes it very difficult to find microliths,  so they are overlooked very easy. The finds of ( many) microliths at the surface ( most often  by amateur -archaeologists)  means a site is very disturbed and of less value for science.( see  NOaA 11.3.3. Relevant post-depositional (source- forming) processes  in Dutch, no translation available ). In these sites so called palimsests ,  = accumulation of artifacts  sometimes originating from very long periods over time,  are very normal. 
Another very important factor for a very incomplete picture for the periods of the Mesolithic is the fact different collectors visited the fields, so artifacts from one site might  end up in different private collections (Arts, Verhart 2004).
All knowledge of Mesolithic in South- Limburg is limited, as it  is based on lithic material, because of the bad conditions for the conservation of organic materials, like bone, antler, wood, etc.contrary to the northern parts of The Netherlands, where even a skeleton of 5600 BC found at Hardinxveld - Giessendam, has been excavated ( see, in English:  skulpting nl - Trijntje ).The use of locations during several stone age periods, especially the  Early - Mesolithic- Neolithic peridod is a phenomena that we do not only see in Southern Limburg, other examples are e.g. the site of Montenach

2. On the  Mesolithic landscape of South- Limburg (The Netherlands)
The technological Mesolithic is characterized by the use of small, different shaped retouched blades,  known as microliths.A light weaponry has advantages for nomadic people in large territories, but this implicates the hunting for small animals, which are related to woodland.
Such microliths were used either as lone standing tools or in composed tools. The bow and arrow would have been the most important weapon during the Mesolithic.The change in shape and size of microliths during the Mesolithic is caused by a changing landscape. During the peri- glacial periods of the epi -Palaeolithic, broad points ( tanged Ahrensburgian points) were used for the hunting of larger animals like the aurochs , horse and reindeer  in a parkland with mainly pine (Pinus sylvestris) and birch (Betula sp.). For South Limburg, the transitional phase, where the landscape became more densely forested is not visible in the archaeological record: comparative with the Early Neolithic, more is known from the sandy areas of the Belgian Kempen and the Middle- Limburg region (Kessel, Neer, Echt).(Deeben & Rensink 2005). The Magdalénien period is better known in the South Limburg region; finds of steep retouched blades, borers and retouched points are known from the region south of Maastricht at Kanne, Belgium ( Vermeersch 1981).
The Mesolithic period , starting somewhere at 7700 BC coincides a global warming, and thus a changing vegetation  ( change from coniferous forest to deciduous mixed forest ) and changing landscape ( higher sealevels, more water flow from rivers, etc.). The game became smaller, and in the dense forests ( mainly lime trees (Tilia sp.)  at the extended plateau areas)  there was hardly a possibility to hunt. The only places for hunting / fishing/  gathering activities were in and around the brook valleys and the Maas river valley (  old meanders, ponds left by the river, marshland).  Exactly in these biotopes, there was a large variety of trees and vegetation, like elm trees (Ulmus sp.)  and oak trees( Quercus sp.) on the slopes, hazel trees on the open spots, and a mixed vegetation in the valleys where we find the ash (Fraxinus sp.) ,the  alder ( Alnus sp.)  and willow (Salix sp.), depending on the type of soil. In South Limburg, locations with a calcareous soil  were sensitive to erosion and easy to clear. These locations, nearby waters were preferred in the landscape. Such typical locations were established by the author, near St. Geertruid- Rijckholt  near Maastricht- Neercanne (A) and at Aachen Seffent- Wilkinsburg (B) , all located on a steep side above/ nearby a disappeared water source and located at a local elevation in the landscape. 
The soils i.c. were well- drained soils due to erosion processes that had started already  during the Mesolithic, because these locations are difficult for trees to root on. Here, normally we found the characteristic limestone- lime forest, these trees did not grow high and could fall easily for example in case of storms. Such tree-falls caused erosion and at such places eluvial flint could be accessible. This was the case at Aachen Seffent -Wilkinsberg. In other cases fluvial flint was used from rolled pebbles from the Pleistocene gravel deposits on the older terraces, such as the environments of Bruisterbosch.
During the Late Meseolithc period, the diversity of the animal food source was very big: red and roe deer, wild boar, wild cattle, otter, fox, wild cat, birds, fish and mussels.
The finds of flint artifacts from the Mesolithic (or also transitional phase of the Mesolithic/ Neolithic) are found near old sources. These old sources are disappeared, but the old watercourse is still visible. Often, the slowly sloping hill today is only a remnant of what was a steep hillside during the Mesolithic, when drain water flew over the gravel layers. The horizon(s) directly overlying the gravels have eroded and now are mixed with the gravels in the field. This is why it gives us the impression finding the Mesolithic tools in a context of the gravels, but this is mixed in younger periods ( e.g. Bronze age, Roman period and Medieval).
All finds from the ASAC -collections originate from  locations nearby disappeared water sources, at up to 5 km inland from the river. This means, we are dealing with former small attributes of the (Meuse) river.

Microliths/ retouched implements from the area of Banholt - Bruisterbosch (NL). All artifacts, made of local flint, are retouched and fragments, created through transverse lateral or diagonal snapping, possibly used as microlithic components of larger objects.. They probably are  Late -Mesolithic. Compare this with the applied technique in Great Britain, crude microliths E2809

3. Biotopes and territories
In the landscape, Mesolithic hunter/ gatherers preferred locations between different biotopes, e.g. between the sandy and loess area, or between marshland and mixed forests fot their hunting. gathering or fishing activities. These activities were seasonal activities depending on climate,  nature and needs of the group.
The  territory,  necessary for one or more groups should have minimum surface to meet the need to provide
the food, clothes, etc.Mesolithic social territories can be defined by the use of certain raw materials  like bone and antler by stylistic research (Verhart 1990 in Vermeersch, 1990). The spread of Wommersom quartzite is also a determinant in social territories. This type of raw material is limited to a certain area. North and east of the river Rhine, this stone hardly is present , while between the Meuse and Rhine a sharp decline in the share of this type of stone can be observed (Arora 1979, 1981; Gendel 1984, 1987, 1989; Van Oorsouw 1993 ). It is even stated that the distribution of this Wommersom - quartzite  (near Tienen / Tirlemont, Belgium) possibly can be understood as the territory of a tribe dialectic (Arts,in prep.)
In the transitional phase Mesolitc / Neolithic, the new farmers of the Linear Band Keramik (LBK) settled on the edges of the loess plateaus. Arts and Verhart  argue that "the arrival of settlers who will not have meant  a threat to the hunters and gatherer . The colonists settled on the loess-plateaus where a dense deciduous forest existed, a region that will be Mesolithic hunters and collectors as the marginal zone of its territory ". (in : De steenttijd van Nederland, Archeologie 11/12, 244).

Image above : The southern part of the South -Limburg region and spread of Late Mesolithic sites. Red circles are towns, in pink the Mesolithic sites (Verhart /Wansleeben, 2000), in light blue assumed Late Mesolithic sites based on either microburin technique, finds of microliths and/ or points, discovered by the author, in high blue officially reported Late Mesolithic site of Aachen Seffent -Wilkinsberg, discovered by the author in 2007.

In my observations, the Mesolithic sites are mainly found on calcareous soils at the plateau's edges, where such dense forest was not present during the Mesolithic, here we found  lower growing limestone lime- forests { Tilia cordata]  mixed with pine [Pinus sylvestris] and birch [Betulus sp.] ., that were very sensitive for erosion.  The small quantities of microliths s.s., found at such sites, were often located at a sub- locus of a more large Neolithic site: nearby a ( an early) Neolithic site ( activity zone, like flint processing/ settlement) , in observations  at sites at Rijckholt -Maarlanderweg (C) , Maastricht Neercanne- NC2, Anixhe (Belgium),Visé -Lanaye PLC (Belgium , (D) ) and Aachen Seffent-Wlikinsberg  (Germany). At Anixhe - Enclos,  the spread and concentrations of microliths were clearly related to a sub-location of a Neolithic site at a possible former bank of what could have been a small lake or pool.
At Aachen Seffent-Wilkinsberg (B) the same pattern occurred, the microliths were found in a limited area of ca. 40 x 40 m, at the highest point, while Neolithic artifacts were found at the whole area, as if Neolithic farmers used  the large equalized surfaces for their habitation, while Mesolithic hunters used the slightly visible elevations , sometimes only 0,5 m  higher than the surrounding area.  At Maastricht- Neercanne - NC2, the microliths were  found at a slight slope, just outside the locations where Neolithic artifacts were found more to the west, and on a large flattened area..
These observations however might also be diffused by the fact erosion processes are making it more easy to trace Mesolithic settlements exactly at locations, used by later Neolithic farmers. In fact both Mesolithic and Neolithic people benefited from the same natural facilities like (running) water, availability of  raw materials for their tools ( flint, gravels) at the intersection of more natural ecosystems ( sand, loess, valley, plateau, etc.)  This illustrates also the dependence of the hunting for both periods.   Another complication is the fact, that in some cases  it is also uncertain whether the Neolithic and Mesolithic sites were inhabited contemporaneous. This 'empty space' in South Limburg  for the 'real' Mesolithic is very complicated.(Vanmontfort 2007)  The finds of many Late Mesolithic /Early Neolithic tools at or nearby  'typical' Neolithic locations like Rijckholt, Neercanne- Cannerberg (A), might reflect an increasing interest in the region for its raw material purveyance. Another possibility is, that South Limburg is not empty at all, and good Mesolithic sites are well conserved in the valleys, below thick packages of  colluvial soil. After all, in surface collecting, we only find that what is 'accessible 'so disturbed and often moved by the plow.

4. Base camp, hunting / fishing camp/ mixed camps
The function of a Mesolithic campsite is depending on the activities in the camp. In clear, 'unpolluted'  sites such activities are reflected in the archaeological correlate, points for hunting activities, borers and scarpers for daily activities.  In base camps we find more scrapers, borers, drills, large tools,large amounts of waste material, carving remains, etc., while a hunting camp often leaves a few flint nodules, broken arrow points and a bit of  waste material. In the situation at the Vlootbeekdal (Middle Limburg) we find several base camps located near each other, over a distance less than one kilometer.(Arts, Verhart, 2004 :  246,  fig 10,). Such "change" in base camp locations could be the result of  drying wells or simple the fact there was too much rubbish in the site, so they moved a little bit further. If it is allowed to make a direct  parallel with the Mesolithic South Limburg: here I found a similar pattern, of locations with many microliths/ micro debitage artifacts in a limited area ( < 1,5 km). Another possible parallel could be the dispersion of  camps in the inland, using the best locations at "all- year- round " springs.
 At Aachen Seffent -Wilkinsberg (B), the activity zone around the base camp was very large, due to the special conditions of the location: a long horn -land-form, steep rising over a marsh landscape nearby the well known wells of Seffent ( Siebnquellen) . Over more than 500 meters microliths ( and small bladelets)  could be found, as a result of the many activities at this hill slope.
The diet of the Mesolithic people in the Meuse valley  was mixed with a major terrestrial signature (Bocherens et al. 2007 ).

A contemporary image of the representation of the Mesolithic landscape in brook valleys  is visible in the present  valley of the brook  named "Tungelroyse beek" Leudal, Middle- Limburg, , where many small (almost dry) former meanders still are visible in the landscape( image by the author)
Coincidence: environmental change has been investigated by finds of remains of red deer in this area:  see in  INTIMATE pdf, p 64  L,Woelders, J.W. de Kort, and W. Hoek 2012 (Geosciences UU) 
5. Overview of the Mesolithic periods in South Limburg ( The Netherlands) 

a. The Early Mesolithic:  ca. 9.500- 8.600 BP,  9.200 cal BC– 7.500 cal BC
 The lithic industry of the Early Mesolithic in the region South -Limburg still has great similarities in typology with the antecedent Ahrensburg -Culture, but typical tanged Ahrensburg points are absent( Except some reports of Ahrensburg points from the Cannerberg (A), south of Maastricht, ARCHIS 16082/16270)
The lithic technology has interfaces with the Federmesser - culture (De Bie and Caspar, 2000). The exact transition between the Epi-palaeolithic and Mesolithic culture is not clear, but it is most likely, the long- blade technology ( e.g. Federmesser points) is replaced by the 'microburin technique'.The Early Mesolithic lithic industry  is, like the rest of North West Europe, characterized by the presence of A- and B- points, triangle points with at one side modification of  a steep retouch. The Janislawice -type points, related to the transitional period between the 'half open park landscape' and development of dense forests [ 8th mill. BC, Poland](. Czerniak 1988, Domanska 1989),  are absent in the assemblages found in The Lower Countries.(Crombé 1986)
Dorsal view at a Federmesser - blade,  found at Visé -Lanaye. The upper right part has a steep retouch.
Core -axes ( tranchet - axes) are not very well known in the southern part of The Netherlands ( though the author of this article found several of them at the surface, but it is difficult to attribute them to a period without a context.). An image of a small tranche axe, found in Thrupp, Abingdon, similar to the one found at Rijckholt, can be found here . In boths small Mesolithic axes the edges show different retouch types, for different tasks: rude and fine. The early Mesolithic is especially present  in the Vlootbeekdal ( images from Vlootbeekdal) of Middle- Limburg, but is also attributed to finds from Waubach (E) (1) in the eastern part of South Limburg.Early Mesolithic settlements / presence mainly occurs along the Meuse river and in the directly adjacent  brook valley areas. This is always the intersection between two different landscapes.All known Mesolithic sites / locations in the area are extraction camp sites, i.c. for hunting  or the collection of raw materials, herbs, etc.In Belgium, four different groups have been established, based on the typochronoly of the microlith- spectrum( Crombé 1999).These groups are:  the Neerharen -Group,  the Ourlaine -Group, the Verrebroek-  Group ( Crombé , Perdaen & Sergant , 1997)  and the Chinru Group. The Verrebroek - group was not only using flint, but also small pieces of Wommersom quartzite (NP17: 90)..
The Neerharen group mainly has points with a natural base ( >50 %). These groups were living during the second half of the Pre-Boreal period ( ca 11.000 BP) except for the Chinruu group that starts at the beginning of the Boreal (ca 10.600 BP), when the Neerharen- and Verrebroek- groups are disappearing. The Ourlaine group remains till the end of the Boreal period ( ca 9200 BP) ( Crombé, et al., 1999, 2003; Van Strydonck, et al. 2001).

b. The Middle Mesolithic: ca. 8.600–7.800 BP, ca. 7.500–6.500 cal BC
 The Middle Mesolithic period, characterized by the occurrence of surface retouch on the points, steep retouched blades, and the use of  ftanite from Céroux-Mousty (Belgium) for the production of tools, is not very well known in the South-Limburg  region. The only well known site from this period in The Netherlands is the site at Well- Aijen.(F) (2) in the Middle- Limburg region. For this period and later, backed blades and surface retouch are characteristic. 

c. The Late Mesolithic: ca. 7.800–6.500/5.500 BP, ca. 6.500–5.300/4.400 cal BC.
The transition between the period from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic Age is difficult to interpret by the (amateur -) archaeologists, for disturbed contexts and large palimpsests appear in the fields in the visible archaeological correlate: in fact  only the lithic remains of camps and activities are found back mixed in the field.( 3)
This is why  'unpolluted',"unmixed", clear ​​Mesolithic sites, are scarce and such mixed sites show a great time depth (4). We can only identify a number of locations, which obviously have been visited in the Mesolithic- undefined  and used (later, or simultaneously?)during the Neolithic, because we find tools from both periods together. Even the Ryckholt Flint Mines were used by  Mesolithic hunter-gatherers  by means of surface mining, flint outcrops of good quality were used in the manufacture of micro- tools ( but also tools made of  imported flint occur).Such tools were already  noticed by Hamal-Nandrin ( Ophoven & Nandrin 1951).
But even when we find artifacts made of a non- local flint type together with local flint type we still do not know if they were used at the same time. The only way to at least establish the presence of Mesolithic hunter- gatherers in this region is to find the typical microliths, or even better the arrow - points (i.c.wide and narrow trapezes) which can be appointed to a period and culture.( see some pictures here [finds from the Mesolithic, Research ac uk, United Kingdom] ).In this case, the final Mesolithic gives more confusion, as in the assemblages occur Rhombic trapezes, trapezoid micriliths and Bandceramic points ( with hollow base).
A Late -Mesolithic camp has been excavated near Sweikhuisen (G) ( already mentioned by Wouters, 1953, excavation in 1984).
Even though the information, derived from surface scatters does not provide the information we want, it gives some idea about activities and human presence during Mesolithic- Neolithic periods.
One thing that I noticed not only in Southern Limburg but also in field excursions in Wallonie ( i.c. Anixhe, Slins) is the fact Mesolithic sites occur in the presence of - nearby - Neolithic sites. This could either indicate a simultaneously presence of hunter gatherers , contacting Neolithic farmers, or simply mean the location is very convenient for settlement both during Mesolithic and Neolithic. Finds of the Mesolithic, presented in this blog, come from Dutch locations near Neercanne - Cannerberg(A) , the area around Rijckholt (C)and Eckelrade (H),  from the German locations Aachen -Seffent -Wilkinsberg (B), the Aachen- Schneeberg area (I)  and finally from the Belgian Voeren- St. Martensvoeren (J) and  Visé -Lanaye- PLC(D) area, showing increasing population density towards the Late Mesolithic, resulting in more regional sites. Most finds from the ASAC -collections can be attributed to a final  Mesolithic period  / early Neolithic period, but several items have features to place a part of it in earlier periods.
It is remarkable, in the transitional phase of the Mesolithic/ Neolithic we find similar types of artifacts ( very small Neolithic blades and Mesolithic type points), but the change  in the food economy  between the Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic must have been very abrupt there is no evidence in the European pollen-diagrams whatsoever about Mesolithic agriculture ( Behre, 2006). We must hoever not forget, the use / size of tools, used  in a different ( changing) economy is only one aspect in the transitional period between Mesolithic and Neolithic (Devriendt 2008), this article is mainly focussed on flint tools, so the overview is limited.

6. Some general remarks on Mesolithic finds from South Limburg (The Netherlands)

For any reconstruction of the ( food-) economy of the Mesolithic as a main distinguishing determinant with the Neolithic  in the region South Limburg , it is necessary to understand we have to restrict ourselves to the information provided by the thousands of surface finds containing mainly flint objects. By analyzing the artifact composition of a site, studying the site in relation to its palaeo- geographic position and by investigating the settlement pattern in a wider area, economic information may be obtained, under certain restrictions. Thus the qualitative analysis of flint tool objects is a main objective, to distinguish the different tasks carried out on different materials ( vegetable, animal, wood, crop, etc.) This is more important by the lack of any organic material from the Mesolithic in the region. Asymmetric triangles , with one intensively retouched edge and another less retouched edge, with often a hollow (retouched) base
- square points, with two( most often retouched)  parallel sides and two steep retouched, receding sides.
 are assumed to have been taken over from points used by  the  regional Mesolithic hunter -gatherers  ( Löhr 1994, Jeunesse 2002).This demonstrates the close relation between the Mesolithic nomadic hunter gatherers/ pastoral nomades, and the early Neolithic LBK -settlers of the region.

Arrow points from the region mainly consist of types that coincide with the early Neolithic; trapezes and asymetric points.A- points have been found in the region (Verhart 2000).
- at Visé -Lanaye only (mainly symmetric)  trapeze points have been found and a very large quantity of small retouched / unretouched bladelets made of local and non local flint.
- both Visé -Lanaye  and Neercanne are sites that might be connected to the sites from the belgian Kempen area/ west side of the Maas- river. There are big similarities in these sites.( In the past ten small assumed Mesolithic tools  found on the lower terrace of west- bank of the Maas, near the former Slavante customs- office (find nr.32816, MGA 6097). These tools are purchased by the  National Museum of Antiquities  (Rijskmuseum voor Oudheden, Leiden) from a private collection.
- Especially near ( eluvial) flint mines the Mesolithic is present. The establishment of the Mesolithic is the result of determinants such as : micro- debitage in combination with the used raw material  and retouch type.In this case it is very important to notice (mixed) finds of "micro debitage techniques" together with a microliths - tradition s.l.  often found at or nearby Neolithic settlements or Neolithic activity zones. For an overview of the typology of such tools from both Neolithic- Mesolithic period see Marchand 1999.
Favorite locations in the Mesolithic could have been (re-) used during the Neolithic, just because of certain favorable properties of a site, such as the availability of drinking water, raw materials, good view, etc. In some cases, the microliths are however spread in an adjacent part of the find location, suggesting use in a different period.

7. The relation with the adjacent regions of South Limburg (NL) during the Upper - Palaeolithic- Mesolithic periods

During the Aurignacien (35.000B P- 29.000 BP) no traces of human presence are established in Limburg. The nearest habitation sites were found near Trooz (Grotte Walou) in Belgium (32.000 BP) (Dewez, 1993) The Gravettien ( 30.000 BP - 23.000 BP ) has only one find location, near Heythuisen (K), Middle Limburg.((Deeben & Rensink 2005). The period between 23.000 BP and ca 18.000 BP the whole area was inhabited, because of the climate (LGM).
The late Glacial hunters of the Magdalénien ( 18.000 - 15000 BP) came to the region where small sites were found at Sweikhuisen, Eyserheide (R)and Mesch (S). These sites are placed into the late Magdalénien , around 13.000 BP- 12. 000 BP  by typological determinants of the flint tools.In the adjacent region, south of Maastricht near the Belgian village of Kanne (L) a Magdalénien site was found in the Jeker (Geer) valley, contrary to the sites of South Limburg, where the sites were found high at the plateau's edges.
Like mentionned above in the text,  the Federmesser groups visited mainly the middle part of Limburg (named "De Peel") The South Limburg area is almost empty, only Waubach (E) in the eastern part of South Limburg is known as a flint source for Federmesser groups ( Arts, 1984).
At Neerharen-Rekem (M)  in Belgium, a large Federmesser site has been excavated (De Bie & Caspar 2000; review of the publication).Sixteen large concentrations of flint tools were found here, and this is one of the biggest Federmesser sites of North West Europe.Other Federmesser finds are reported from The Belgian locations at Lommel, Zolder, and Zonhoven, on the southern edge of the sandy Kempen/Campine lowlands, these must be interpret as Tjongerian (latest phase), (Vermeersch, 1979).
Mesolithic core from the Kempen area (K2 at Maasmechelen), raw material flint originating from the Pleistocene gravels

Mesolithic point made in truncated blade technique, tip is broken, which is the reason it was discarded. From the Belgian Kempen region, site K3 Dilsen. 

The presence of the Ahrensburg Culture is established  in the Dutch Middle -Limburg area (Kessel, Neer, Montfort.) and in the Belgian connecting (sandy) area, at Zonhoven (Peleman, Vermeersch & Luypaert 1994). The transition Ahrensburg Culture ( Epi-palaeoloithic) and Early Mesolithic could possibly be appointed at the site at Zonhoven (T), as the numbers of tanged points are minimized at both simultaneously inhabited sites of Zonhoven -Molenheide 1 and 2 (T)( Peleman, Vermeersch & Luypaert 1994). The transition between the Ahrensburg and the Mesolithic for the Belgian part of  the region has been described by Vermeersch (Vermeersch 2008).
Crombé made a typo-chronology for the  classification of Mesolithic assemblages (Crombé 1999). For the description of these groups see above, in the paragraph "Early Mesolithic".
In the east, the connecting area with South Limburg  is the German province of Nordrhein -Westfalen (NRW), especially the Rhineland area. In the Province of NRW, over 1000 surface locations from the Mesolithic period were found ( Heinen 2001), of which over 95 % are surface concentrations without stratigraphical context. Important excavations from the Mesolithic were made at Scherpenseel-' Am Heidehaus' (N) and Bedburg-Königshoven

The Mesolithic culture of this region, like in South Limburg.  between 7400 and 5400 BC belonged to the Rhine-Meuse-Schelde Mesolithic (= RMS Mesolithic, Gob, 1985 ).

On the basis of the distinctive microliths, found in the wider region,  the spread of RMS Mesolithic is established  in an area of ​​about 150,000 square kilometers between the Seine in France to the south, the IJsselmeer in The Netherlands  in the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Rhine-Mosel-course to the eastOf the 324 known sites 47 places were found in (Western) Germany.
In Germany ( and in Belgium see below) different Mesolithic form-groups ( belonging to the RMS) are marked out, based on different, distinctive microlith forms (Arora 1976). These form -groups and their main characteristic microliths are ( free after S. Arora):
1)  The Hambach Group [Hambacher Gruppe]
Dorsal base retouched / ventral base - steep retouched triangle points, most small oblong points in I- form. Segment  in the assemblage: 20 %. Elongated rectangles occur.
2) The Abdissenbosch Group [ Abdisschenboscher Gruppe] Abdissen ( U)
Dorsal and ventral base steep retouched triangle points occur. Small backed knives, triangle knives, Full surface retouched  points are probably absent in this group.
3) The Teverener Group [Teverener Gruppe] Teveren (V)
Triangle points are dorsal- ventral - base  or ventral - base retouched. Triangles are often asymmetric Backed knifes occur, and surface retouched microliths occur. Segments in the assemblage 14 %.
4) The Breitenborn Group [ Breitenborner Gruppe]
Most triangles are isosceles. Rectangles are elongated.Segments are 14 % of the total assemblages
5) The Wirtheim Group [Wirtheimer Gruppe]
Long narrow triangles occur as well as symmetric and asymmetric rectangles.Surface retouch does not occur.
6)  The Billinghausen Group [Billinghausener Gruppe]
Dorsal base retouched triangles occur, the rectangles are elongated. Triangles are scalene. Rectangles are asymmetric.
  7) The Retlager Group [ Retlager Gruppe]
Most often, dorsal base retouched triangles occur, but dorsal- ventral base retouched triangles do not occur.
Triangles are long narrow and narrow / elongated. Rectangles are right angled and symmetric and asymmetric forms occur. Acicular points occur, segments are only 11 % of the total assemblage
8) Hulstener Group [ Hülsteiner Gruppe] 
Triangles, ventral or dorsal-ventral base retouched  are absent or are rare in the assemblage.Symmetric and asymmetric rectangles do occur, just like  backed knive.
The Hambach, Teverenr and Abdisschenbosch Groups are found throughout the region between Rhine and Moselle, in the Lower Rhine Curve ( Niederrheinischen Bucht) including the Selfkant area, the Bergische Plateaus, the valley of the Moselle, Gutland and Vennvorland. In South Limburg and Belgium (Kempen) we find the the microliths of the  'Teverener Group'(5). The Hulstener Group is present north of the Rhine (Niederrheinischer Teifland, = Lower Rhine basin)  in The Netherlands, while the Retlager Group can be found in Germany in the area of the Teutoburgerwald in Germany (  Banghard & Gehlen 2012 )
and in The Netherlands in the north ( Friesland/ Groningen/ Drenthe).See also the simplified map below.

Simplified map of the main form - groups, based on microlith forms, free adapted after S. Arora, 1976

The correlation between these distinctive groups and the stages in the Mesolithic are as follwos ( free after Arora) 

Stage 1 :  (Halterner Group, not discussed here) 7.400 – 6.800 BC [Jørgenson/ Jessen]

 Stage 2 : Hambacher Groupca  ca 7000 BC [Jessen]

 Stage 3. Abdissenbosscher Group  ca 6200 BC [ Filzer]

 Stage 4: Teverener, Retlager and Hülstener Group 6000 -5000 BC ‘Maarheeze (NL): 4280 BC

 In the sandy areas of North and Middle Limburg and the Belgian Kempen area, the Mesolithic

continued till ca 4000 BC

The distribution area of the wider RMS - tradition  is located along the Dutch and Belgian Meuse river, from which location we can determine a seamless continuation of the RMS stations into the German Rhineland. In the northern part of Nordrhein-Westphalen and Niedersachsen  the Early and Late - Mesolithic are corresponding the Haltern- and Boberg- stage, and the Hülstener- group during the Late Mesolithic in western Nordrhein-Westphalen (Adrian, 1956). 
A very important role in the examinations about the Mesolithic in this area has been played by  Mr R. Riediger, amateur archaeologist from Ubach- Palenberg (Germany) , who has discovered many Mesolithic sites and collected up to 100.000 Mesolithic artifacts ( biggest collection in Germany) .He has a small museum at home, it used to be to possible to visit by appointment.
 Mesolithic sites of the RMS Mesolithic are distributed along the rivers of the Belgian Walloon Ardennes, like at Remouchamps (Gob, 1985); possible human cremations from the Mesolithic are discovered  in Luxembourg at Heffingen-Loschbbour (Toussaint et al, 2009,). The classification for this group for the Late Mesolithic,  has been made on typological base of points[ triangles/ trapezes ] and these groups are placed in the  "Ardennien" groups (Thevenin, 1995 Otte 1978 ) and at the North east- Moselle  the "Patinat - group". 
The Ardennian groups did make small axes ( tranchets)  like in the lithic materiel found at La Roche - aux - Faucons at Plainevaux (W)
The Early and Middle Mesolithic period in Belgium is corresponding with the French Tardenoisian.( Otte, 1978) , with characteristic trapezoid points and blades made in indirect percussion and pression  -technique.This Tardenoisian is a large collective noun for many sub groups, being part of the large general Axilian, where the Tardenoisian has been derived from the Beuronian (from the Parish basin)- and while the cultures of Belgium and the Northern part of France are based on trapezes, these are called 'trapezium-cultures' (Barbaza 1999).
The Late Mesolithic Period for this region has ben described by Henrard (2003), especially the transition between Mesolithic and Neolithic in the Ardennes region.(Henrard, 2003).
The Early Mesolithic next to the South Limburg region  has been  found at Hergenrath (O) , Kelmis- Brennhag,((X)  as a continuation of the Epi -palaeolithic around Vaals,  and in the Maas- valley at Neerharen - de Kip (M) and Opgrimbie - Onder de Berg (Q)((Billin 2010). An overview for the main Mesolithic sites in Belgium  can be found in the PDF article dans l'Antropologie nr. 16, an overview of  multidisciplinary results of the excavation of Trou Al' Wesse by MIller (Miller et al, 2012).  A short description of  those Mesolithic sites that are relevant for this article, is made here:
The Hergenrath site was located near the village of Hergenrath above disappeared sources at an originally  tertiary dune at + 275 m altitude, at a very dry place (Hubert 1967). In the tool spectrum bladelets occurred most frequently; other tools found here: ( pyramidal ) cores for the bladelet debitage,bladelets, micro- blades, microliths ( 1 Sauveterre point), 7 Tardenois- points, 9 Zonhoven points, a hammerstone, anvils and scrapers.
The Kelmis -Brennhag site at the edge of a former sandpit  is also located at an old tertiary dune, at + 280 m altitude. Not far from the site is the current brook  ( Vermeersch, 1982)
These Early Mesolithic sites would have a connection with some detected findspots southwest of the Dutch community of Vaals, where a possible Early Neolithic findspot has been reported (Van Putten et al, 2010) as a continuation of the Upper -Palaeolithic finds in this particular part of the South -Limburg region. From the 53 archaeological observations ( finds)  of the total stone age period, 5 were made about the Upper- Palaeolithic, 16  from the Mesolithic and 32 of the Neolithic period (ARCHIS95 observation locations).
The Early Mesolithuic sites of Neerharen - de Kip (M)  and  Opgrimbie - Onder den Berg (Q)  are also located at a dune top, but these are former sand-dunes of the Meuse river. Both sites were dated by carbon samples, the Neerharen site had mainly carbon of hazel ( 80 %). Cores were found, for the production of small tools in the local sites. At Opgrimbie a total of 14.909 artifacts were collected, of which only  28 could be charcterized as 'real tools', made out of 56 kilograms raw material.
In the Late Mesolithic period, the Dilsen-Dilserheide III (P) excavation of 1990- 1991 was important. This site is located near an old  water spring. A total of 5513 artifacts were found at the  site with an estimated surface of 40 x 60 m. Only few cores were found ( 1 % of the total), a total of real tools was 289, of which37 montbani - blades. The Mesolithic group is part of  the "Ruiterskuil- group"(classification by  Vermeersch, 1984, Crombé, 2002).
The other groups are distinctive by the numbers of trapezes in the microliths: the Moordenaarsven- group has less than 25 %, the Paardsdrank - group between 25- 50 %, the Ruiterskuil group more than 50 %.
The North France Mesolithic groups, like in dutch Limburg, had evolved points, with an Inverse Plate Retouche.  
A brief review of the Mesolithic in Luxembourg is given by Spier & Gob  (Spier 1990, Gob & Spier, 1982).
The chronological phase of the Beuronien A  in Luxembourg  is still corresponding with sites in Belgium, and for Luxembourg the main sites are Altwies  (Ziesaire P. ) and Berdorf.
The Mesolithic in Northern France, especially the large Lorraine region as the hinterland of the Meuse -river
is an interesting area.The  Rijckholt flint- type, has been found in Lorraine ( area of Metz -Thionville)   and has been reported from the  FPL( Forum Préhistoire en Lorraine). The Mesolithic is well represented throughout the territory of Lorraine and confirmed mainly by surface finds
Unfortunately, like in the South Limburg region,  no closed site with good stratigraphy is currently known. Many occupations have delivered lithic fairly representative to place them in their respective different cultural phase. The Mesolithic was identified at Montenach in the Moselle dept. ( Galland 1995)  while the average phase (-8000 to -6800 BC) is represented at Walschbronn (Moselle). The final Mesolithic (-6800 to 5500 BC) is a little better known with the occupations of Maizières-les-Metz-Thionville Puttelange  and Himmeling (Moselle). On a cultural level, two sets were identified: Beuronien and Montbanien. The chronological phase of the Beuronien A  is still corresponding with sites in Belgium, and for Luxembourg the main sites are Altwies "Op dem Boesch" (Toussaint et al , 2000) and the lower stratigraphy at Berdorf (article about Berdorf).
The Middle Mesolithic period has been established at Reuland and the upper stratigraphy of Berdorf. These locations fit in the chronology of the Beuronien B/ C corresponding with Belgian sites in the south of Walloon.
The trapezium and the micro burin technique marks the final Mesolithic and has been established at 

Reuland-Loschbour, Kehlen, Diekirch, Keispelt et Lorentzweiler.

The Neolithic-Mesolithic transition with two separate cultures co-existing in the region places the situation in Luxembourg in a larger perspective as it is the same for the wider region, including the territories of Belgium, Dutch South Limburg and the German Rhine Valley.

An overview of the main cultures in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg during the Mesolithic

8. Finds from the Mesolithic & discussion
The Mesolithic is abundant outside South- Limburg, especially in  the Belgian Kempen region, which  has been very dense "populated" during the Mesolithic ( 6)
Images below demonstrate Mesolithic flint and flint implements from the region of Dutch South- Limburg and the regions south of Maastricht- Aachen, found during field -prospections.To trace Mesolithic sites, it is necessary to study the palaeo- geographical situation of the region, to predict possible settlement locations.
The finds presented at this page are  not defined as Mesolithic tools by diagnostic tool- types like arrowheads. Though C-points do occur, trapeze points are the most general points in South Limburg. Triangles do occur; several triangle points could belong to the  Teverener Group ( preliminary article, Rijckholt, Groen 2012).   As such points occur in both Mesolithic and Neolithic assemblages it is not very easy to distinguish the Mesolithic by trapezes alone.Diagnostic points remain  triangles ,asymmetric and rhombic trapezes..
  The burin technique marks the late Mesolithic period.The tool typology for the region is usually based on Arts (1984) or Heinen (2012).
In this case, especially in case of surface finds, there is always a  discussion about the period. In the past few years I've found 'twilight' artifacts from Neolithic / Mesolithic sites. The reason for this is the lack of diagnostic types to prove the Mesolithic, though these artifacts do not fit in the real Early Neolithic.  Similar  laminar microliths, like small micro scrapers on small blades( length < 2 - 3 cm), together with retouched micro flakes ( 1-2 cm long and wide), i.c. several artifacts found near a LBK site in Hesbaye,  may belong to Late Mesolithic hunter- gatherer- groups.
The most prevalent Mesolithic artifacts from South -Limburg and the region are small blades, at Rijckholt and south of Maastricht made of local flint, supplemented with non- local flint (Rullen, indeterminae, fluvial flint). Such micro- blades vary in length ( up to 3 cm) and wide ( between 0.8 and 1,5 cm). Platform cores were used as the baseline for the  production of small blades.
Micro -blades often are used as backed knifes ( lamelles à dos). Single tips, like  points partially sharp -angled retouched (pointes à dos abattu partiel) are rare, but trapezoids ( trapezes rectangulaires) and triangles ( pointes triongulaires) occur frequently. Such trapezes were made out of a micro- burin technique to divide the blade into more parts. Micro- burins, borers and retouched pieces also occur, emphasizing the nomadic way of life.
Regarding the large numbers of microliths found in the adjacent sandy areas ( the Belgian Kempen region , Dutch Middle-Limburg , the German Selfkant- region ) it looks like there is a 'gap' in habitation in the region: especially the empty parts around Valkenburg, Gulpen, and more south towards the Belgian border: Noorbeek, Epen, Slenaken.
This could either be explained by an unsuccessfully sample -strategy during field prospections in South Limburg ( microliths are hard to detect) or a different use of the landscape by Mesolithic hunter -gatherers in prehistoric times, or, the eroded surfaces in this particulary area show more colluvial sloping effects. See also paragraph 3 above in this article.It might also reflect a "hunting zone" comparable with the area in Northern France, Alsace, Lorraine and the Northern Jura,  but one might expect to find arrow points in that case, that are for those regions identity markers for both the periods as well as for the cultural groups ( see e.g. Thevenin 1995)
Finally, it is important to consider the cretaceous Meuse- Rhine region ( including South- Limburg)  as one of the most important flint mine sources of  North Western Europe (Flint of Hesbaye, Rijckholt, Valkenburg, Lousberg, etc.) Maybe this is one of the reasons why so little diagnostic Mesolithic tools are reported from South Limburg:, e.g. the hunting areas where points were produced, used  and discarded ( in a short chaine opératoire) were mainly located outside the region ( to the south, the northwest  and the north).
The discovered small artifacts in the south Limburg region ( Neercanne, St. Martensvoeren, Aachen - Seffent) are made in a Mesolithic blade- technique and only a few are diagnostic;  nevertheless they seem to be quite different compared to microliths found e.g. in the adjacent sandy area of Middle Limburg. ( see pictures below). It is not clear whether tey belong to late - Mesolithic hunter- fisher- gatherers, or if they belong to pastoral groups.
A difference in locations and site use might be noticed. Though interpretations by surface finds alone are no hard statements, it is acceptable to make a beginning- in the lack of more information.
The sites of Visé -Lanaye- Caster and Maastricht Neercanne, show at least  'activity zones' with a dominant number of small bladelets, and other finds like micro drills. Maybe these are small activity - zones, used during special missions in the area ( searching for flint, fishing, etc.)
The site of Aachen- Seffent -Wilkinsberg site has everything of a temporary base camp, where tool production took place ( cores were found as well).

Small blade -core ( < 4 cm blade length)  found near Rijckholt, made of the local Rijckholt flint. this core is probably from the late -Mesolithic period (based on patina and debitage core)

Publications of ARbannig (Mesolithic)

The following on -line publications about Mesolithic finds in the region are in preparation.

Late- Mesolithic finds at Neercanne (NL): an activity zone.
The Mesolithic of the Montagne St. Pierre area  (B/ NL)
Late Mesolithic- Early Neolithic flint tools found near Rijckholt (NL)

* Published at this blog:
A Mesolithic site at Eckelrade, South Limburg , The Netherlands ( preliminary)
Funde am Seffent Wilkinsberg Stadteil Seffent, Aachen Deutschland

ARbannig Collections Mesolithic
In the collections some thousands small lithic objects are present, small blades, backed knives, tools on blades ( drills, burins) and points ( rectangular, triangles). The artifacts mainly origin from different  large concentrations from the surface. Several find spots are located outside South Limburg. Parts of the collections will be published online.

Tools from the eastern parts of South Limburg and from Germany

Tools from the locations near the Maas- river

(1) Newellin: Palaeohistoria 39,40 (1997-1998) pp 150 , Institute of ArchaeologyGroningen, The Netherlands
(2) see for an overview: J. A. A. Bos,  F. S. Zuidhoff,  K. van Kappel, D. A. Gerrets (2012)  The Reconstruction of a Buried Maas River Landscapenear Lomm, (Limburg, The Netherlands) Using a Multi-Disciplinary Approach; HumanAdaption to Landscape Changes PDF Special Volume 3 (2012), pp. 31–38
(3) This is not entirly true, as there are remains of bone, antler and even fibers from the Mesolithic, see as an example: L.P. Louwe Kooijmans /G. Kortenbout van der Sluijs (1970)  Mesolithic Bone and Antler Implements from the North Sea and from the Netherlands 
(4) see e.g. Merselo-Haag, A late Mesolithic site with early Mesolithic traces in the core region Venray  . In my personal observations I've noticed that assumed Mesolithic sites ( established by concentrations of small tools/ i.c. microliths) often appear directly adjacent to Neolithic sites.
( 5) The classification of specific tool assemblages within a tool spectrum into groups has been done in different countries. Especially in the Rhine - Meuse region this is a problem: The 'Teverener group ' classified by Arora  ( Arora, 1976) is assumed to be present at the west side of the Meuse river (in Belgium) while in this region different groups have been distinguished, based on the different microlith spectrums.

(6) Mesolithic sites are detected in the sandy areas of the Belgian Kempen region, like at Opglabbeek (Ruiterskuil2) , Helchteren (Sonissenheide2) and for a brief overview: see Lirias search results "Mesolithic"

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Adrian W. (1956)  Beiträge zur Steinzeitforschung in Ostwestfalen. Teil II. Bericht des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins für Bielefeld um Umgegend über die Jahre 1954 und 1955. Bielefeld 1956.
Arora S. K.(1976)  Die mittlere Steinzeit im westlichen Deutschland und in den Nachbargebieten. In: Rheinische Ausgrabungen. Bd. 17, Köln & Bonn 1976, pp 1–68.
Arora, S. K. (1975) Rheinische Mikrolithen. Mittelsteinzeit am Niederrhein. Das Rheinische Landesmuseum Bonn, 6/75,  pp 85-88

Aurora S.K.  Archaeologie in Krefeld ; : Aus flint der Maas PDF  (Ausgrabungen in Rheinland)
Steinzeitwissen: Artefakte Michelsberg
Banghard K, & Gehlen, B. (2012)  Viele Funde, wenig Forschung –Ein erster Überblick zum Mesolithikum im Teutoburger Wald 21. Treffen der AG Mesolithikum in Detmold vom 2.3. bis 4.3.2012 auf Einladung des Lippischen Landesmuseums

Bosinski et al, (2000)  Arbeiten zum Paläolithikum und zum Mesolithikum in Nordrhein-Westfalen. more, Mainz Verlag Philippvon Zabern
Fass. E.  Website Karmantan.    Siedlungsplätze der Mittelsteinzeit am Michelsberg

Groen L. J. (2010) : Funde am SeffentWilkinsberg stadteil Seffent, Aachen, Deutschland (Mesolithic site, article at ARbannig)
Hei­nen M,  (2012) Mikro­li­then, in Floss (Ed..) Stein­ar­te­fakte vom Alt­pa­läo­li­thi­kum bis in die Neu­zeit, Tübin­gen 2012, Kerns Ver­lag, S. 599–620 und ders., Flä­chen­re­tu­schierte Pro­jek­tile des Meso­li­thi­kums, in Floss (Hrsg.) Stein­ar­te­fakte vom Alt­pa­läo­li­thi­kum bis in die Neu­zeit, Tübin­gen 2012, Kerns Verlag, S. 621–630 
Heinen M:  Neue Erkentnisse zum Mesolithikum in Nordrhein Westfalen
Hei­nen M, The Rhine-Meuse-Schelde Cul­ture in Wes­tern Europe. In: M. Sreet u.a., Final Pala­eo­li­thic and Mes­li­thic Rese­arch in Reuni­fied Ger­many. Jour­nal of World Pre­history 15, 4, 2001, 400–403; Ders., The Rhine-Meuse-Schelde Culu­ture in Wes­tern Europe. Dis­tri­bu­tion, chro­no­logy and deve­lop­ment. In: C.-J. Kind (Hrsg.),  After the Ice Age. Mate­ri­alh. zur Arch. in Baden-Württemberg, 78, 2006, 75–86
 Jöris O. (2000)   Arbeiten zum Paläolithikum und zum Mesolithikum in Nordrhein Westfalen in Millione Jahre Geschichte, Fundort Nordrhein Westfalen [ Heinz Günther et al.Mainz Verlag 2000]

Street: M.(1996) Der Federrmesser Fundplatz Urbar  bei Koblenz (Römisches-Germanisches Zentralmuseum
Street, M et al ( 2001)  Final Paleolithic and Mesolithic Research in Reunified Germany

Journal of World Prehistory Volume 15, Number 4 (2001), 365-453, DOI:
Steinzeitwissen  allgemein 


Blouet V., Kartheiser J., Leesch D. et Schwenninger J.-L 1984 : Le gisement mésolithique Kalekapp 2 (commune de Berdorf) : Bulletin de la Société préhistorique luxembourgeoise 6, p. 1-30. 
Leesch D. et Le Brun-Ricalens F. 1995 : L'occupation mésolithique des abris de Berdorf-«Kalekapp 2». Dossiers de l'archéologie, hors-série, 5 (Luxembourg: de la préhistoire au Moyen Âge, p. 20-21).  
Ziesaire P. (  Le site mésolithique d'Altwies-Haed dans : Le mésolithique entre Rhin et Meuse, S. 273-299 - article

Websites with images of Mesolithic finds in The Netherlands:
Dick Reijnen: archeologie en historie in Boxmeer
A. Speelberg: Prehistorie Dietern (Limb)
Kijkeeens omlaag : mesolithicum
Oudheidkundige Vereniging Zelhem : microlieten
Speelberg A, gastauteur Prehistorie Dieteren (Middle Limburg) 
Armkreutz, L.  Vanmontfort, B., De Bie, M. ,Verbeek, C. (2010) Bowls of contention, Mesolithic sites with pottery in the Lower Rhine area, Academia edu.PDF

Websites with articles/ images about the  Mesolithic  in Europe:

Mesolithic in Europe, countries

Great Britain :

Prehistory Research section of Yorkshire , mesolithic
 Microburin, populating the Mesolithic

Museum of the Stone Age, microliths

Articles scientifiques de Mésolithique sur le web (hors Lorraine)  ( articles in French)
Luxembourg: Le  Mésolithique  

Rozoy Dr J.- G. Lemode de vie au mésolihique PDF    L’Europe des derniers chasseurs

5ème Colloque international UISPP 18-23 septembre 1995 p. 39-50.

Switzerland : 
Crotti P. Mésolithiqe Suisse
Cornellisen, M. Hazelnut connections

Rebecca H. ( 2007)  Spåren efter Mesolitikum: en studie av 10 mesolitiska platser i sydöstra Sverige PDF (University of Kalmar, School of Human Sciences)
Olofsen, A. ( 2003) Pioneer settlement in the Mesolithic of Northern Sweden PDF ; Department of Archaeology and Sami Studies S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
Ortman , O ;( 2007)  The recent historyof Mesolithic research in West-Sweden, a repetition PDF
ARbannig websites about the Mesolithic
Late- Mesolithic at Rijckholt (NL) ?
Mesolithic finds near Bruisterbosch?
A mesolithic site at Eckelrade South Limburg Netherlands
Small tools from ST. Geertruid

Mesolithic /Neolithic  tool implements from the Vaals - Gemmenich region. The point at the far left is a Federmesser point.
Some Mesolithic flint implements from Fourons/Voeren, Belgium. The flint type  in this small assemblage is totally different compared with flint found in other sites nearby

Mesolithic flint from the eastern region of South Limburg (NL)

Mesolithic/Neolithic implements from Ryckholt

The Early and Middle Middle Mesolihic in the South Limburg region is not quite well understood. These artifacts with a possible Early - Middle Mesolithic date, are found in a disturbed context near Kanne (B) 

Possible Middle Mesolithic artifacts (Neercanne)

Mesolithic blade core found at the forification of the Goudsberg, Valkenburg a/d Geul.
Mesolithic flint blades and points from a site at Visé -Lanaye.

Small cores found at the plateau of South Limburg, ( St. Geertruid-Banholt area) assumed to be  from the Mesolithic.

(1) an overview with many references and projects concerning the Mesolithic in the Kempen  and adjacent areas can be found at  VIOE( in Dutch!)

 Some Mesolithic artifacts found north of Hauset, Belgium
North of Hauset (Belgium) some pieces of woodland were cleared for reforestation. Though this occured on eroding slopes and the big machines caused even more erosion, this would give a good opportunity to detect possible traces from the Mesolithic .
Only two mesolithic artefacts were found  not far from the wells of the Rotsiefbach.The artefacts were found on cleared land in the forest and just in the forest at the appropriate location for Mesolithic hunter -gatherers.
One of the artefacts is defenitely a single side retouched backed knife, the other a nearly round retouched thumb- scraper. Both belong to the microlith technology.  As far as I can estimate, these artefacts look more similar to those found in the region of the Voer (Martensvoeren, Belgium) than to those found at the north of Aachen. This could implicate among others either cultural  differences  at the same period, or the artefacts belong to a different period.(1)  At the surface of the cleared forestland  pieces of  charcoal were detected at three different places. Bushfire is a normal phenomenon, but there's also the possibility this charcoal is from herds.
two retouched Mesolithic implements, one made of silex, (right) , the other out of quartz (left)

A freshwater mussel, related to microliths?
 Remarkable is the find of a freshwater mussel in the forest, on a piece of cleared land, not far from the finds of the microliths. Finding a mussel on arable land might be brought up by dung, but in the forest in the ( white yellow) sands is unlikely to have been brought up. The mussel found in the forest  appears to be an Unio crassus [Phillipson 1788] (2). By anoxic conditions in the soil shells often have blue / black discoloration. This species needs  a very clean environment and is now extinct.
A possibility is, this musselshell comes from a late mesolithic- early Neolithic waste pit. Mussels are well known as food from the early Palaeolithic (3). From the upper Mesolithic layers the  find of  a single freshwater mussel is reported by  Hardy  and Svoboda (4). A non – prehistoric context of course cannot be excluded.

shell of the freshwater mussel  Unio crassus, now extinct or very rare in Belgium/ The Netherlands. If this mussel was part of the diet of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in the nort-east Belgium territories is not proven, but still possible.

(1) Only two microliths found within ca. 10 meters distance  would suggest these artefact belong together. Moreover, two microliths is not enough to make real statements.
(2) Based on descriptions : Alexander Klink : De Rivier Stroommossel Unio crassus, verspreiding, levenscyclus, habitat en bedreigingen, Rapport Hydrobiologisch Adviesburo Klink nr. 85 juni 2004 In opdracht van Rijkswaterstaat Directie Limburg; the species would come from the Rotsiefbach(?) at shallow places on sandy soils in the brook. In this case, the shell must be taken from another part of the brook, as the hell was found not far from the spring(s), even on a junction where a prehistoric  attribute ( with a different well, but now dried out)) joints the Rotsiefbach.
 (3) In Terra Amata (F, 450.000-380.000 BP) [there are indications that the inhabitants consumed oysters, mussels and sea snails - shells which are present - . The presence of fish bones indicates that people are fishing] (Brown F. H. , Harris J. M. , Leakey R. E. & Walker A. , 1985. Early Homo erectus skeleton from west Turkana, Kenya. Nature, 316: 788-792.)
(4) Bruce L. Hardy and Jiří A. Svoboda   Mesolithic stone tool function and site types in
Northern Bohemia, Czech Republic, Archaeological science under a microscope: studies in residue and ancient DNA analysis in honour of Thomas H. Loy; page 4 where they report the finding of a mussel of Unionidae (freshwater mussels), in Mesolithic site context.
See also New Scientist march 1961 pp  524 where is spoken of :[the remains of a meal provided to cheer this individual on his journey to the next world consisted of animal bones and freshwater mussel shells- "steak and oysters-"as Dr Eigil Nielsons, the leader of the expedition, put it.]
From the Iron Gates freshwater mussel is reported : Unio crassus (fresh water mussel)  Padina A (Sector I and II)  and Padina B (Sector I and III)( Ivana Radovanovic, 1996, The Iron Gates Mesolithic)
References/ Internet
MARTIN STREET  Bedburg-Königshoven: A Pre-Boreal Mesolithic site in the Lower Rhineland, Germany – PDF text ( Street: Bedburg-Königshoven, lower Rhineland)
Mesolithic at Bocholtz (Limburg) 

The Eyserbeek springs near the small castle of Bocholts, near the location of  "Zandberg", where is searched for possible artifacts from the Stone Age, along  the Bocholtzerweg on a few parcels along this small stream. The area lends itself in the past for a stay of Middle Stone Age hunter / gatherers: a source region, a height and local flint in the region (Vetschau, Simpelveld Lousberg). The material found is partly  Mesolithic and partly (early) Neolithic  .

At  Bocholtz B cores were found as well as flakes, of which 3 almost certain are Mesolithic., ( 2- 3 cm long, scrapers).
The found artifacts indacete a short term use of the camp.. So such short term use of the environment of Bocholtz during the Mesolithic has been established by these artifacts.


Overview pictures

Tranche axe from Rijckholt VRBC, possible settlement of  Neolithic farmers otr late Mesolithic hunter gatherers ( transitional phase?)

Mesolithic finds  finds from  ' pure, unpolluted' sites*, 1= Wachtelkopf, 2= Seffent 3= Seffent Wilkinsberg 4 = Neercanne 5 = Montagne St. Pierre 6= Seffent 7, 8,9 = Seffent Wilkinsberg ( 1- 6  small cores, 7 and 9 artifacts made in the blade technique)
* these sites did not show any artifacts from other periods

( to be updated)


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