The recycling and reuse of cores
and bifaces during the Middle Paleolithic
in Western Europe:
Functional and Cultural Interpretations
Céline THIÉBAUT, Émilie CLAUD, Vincent MOURRE, Maria-Gema CHACÓN,
Guillaume ASSELIN, Michel BRENET, Benoît PARAVEL
In several Middle Paleolithic assemblages in Western Europe, cores and bifaces with percussion zones that are not related to their usual mode of functioning have been observed. We used experimental cores and bifaces as percussion tools on different materials. The stigmata produced during percussion on stone materials closely resemble those observed on archaeological objects. Though the use of these pieces as hammerstones or retouchers is difficult to firmly demonstrate, this is the most probable hypothesis. The characteristics of the traces observed are similar to those observed on classic hammerstones. While the recycling of bifaces and cores into hammerstones, sometimes followed by their reuse, depending on their original function, is infrequently observed in Middle Paleolithic assemblages, it appears to be a recurrent characteristic that is independent of environmental constraints or economic or technical contexts. This practice thus seems to be associated with cultural choices, perhaps of a universal nature.