Articles | Volume 46, issue 1
01 Jan 1996
 | 01 Jan 1996

The Sites of Kirchhellen and Weeze, Lower Rhine Bay/Germany, with an Elder Acheulean: starting points for research into the problems of recognizing stone-artefacts in pebble-accumulations of fluviatil terraces

Klaus Schmude

Abstract. The continuing critic by part of the prehistorians, including the principal rejection of pieces found in and on fluvial terraces without additional archaeological documents, which docs include Kirchhellen and Weeze, caused the author to continue research and he began to study situations, where geofacts are produced, which could be mistaken for archaic artefacts. Results up to now seem to indicate a better suited approach to this problem, as explained in the following part. To postulate criteria, in this case enabling to distinguish between arte- and geofacts,an extensive fundamental study of the origin of geofacts and the context should have been undertaken, to form a basis from which to draw conclusions and then to establish criteria. This is missing in our case. The author's report describes observations, which seem to point in a direction enabling a better understanding of the problem. The statements, that the existence of artefacts in fluvial terraces is higly improbable and that it is not possible, if they exist, to separate them from geofacts in pebble accumulations, is contrasted by numerous archaeological sites with a wealth of artefacts, the latter even excavated in thousands from fluvial terraces in the mediterranean area. The production of geofacts as a natural process is much to complex to postulate simple criteria, as they are used now. The pattern of natural damages differs from rock to rock, frequently very strong. Experience gained with flint silex, in Germany or elsewhere, cannot be generalized and used on other rocks: on one site archaic looking geofacts, made perhaps on limestone, may exist in hundreds together with isolated anthropogene similar artefacts on quartzite. The research into a possible archaeological site in an elder fluvial terrace demands to study the flow of material for a longer distance of the river, as well as the tributaries and to take into account numerous complex aspects, which influence the production of geofacts in the case involved. As many collections as possible of artefacts from the Elder Paleolithic have to be studied, besides extensive field work on terraces in different areas plus experimental knapping: these are basic conditions to gain the necessary knowledge, and this expressly over long periods, preferably many years. The final aim is the possession of a wealth of detailed, personal knowledge of boths: the artefacts involved as well as the geofact-forms in general: then as a next step the special geofact-forms of the area involved in new research. The pieces found in Kirch hellen and Weeze are reconsidered in view of the above mentioned observations and groups are created: a. one group of artefacts; b. one group which comprises pieces from a zone of passage. There are still questions open: for instance is the geology of Kirchhellen object of new studies, but also questions with respect to the general problem artefacts/geofacts might be further clarified and this may help with the classification of certain pieces.