A Possible Kostienki Knife from the Mainz Basin: The Key to an Eastern Gravettian Presence in Germany?

2016-10-27T15:11:35Z (GMT) by Mark Anderson
Recently Klaric et al. (2015) have provided a wide-ranging discussion on the subject of Kostienki knives.  Their article includes an overview of a century of research, in-depth functional analysis, and a precise, detailed definition based on material from two Russian sites: Zaraysk and Kostienki I.  The authors conclude that at present true Kostienki knives are a strictly Eastern Gravettian phenomenon.  Artifacts which have been classified as Kostienki knives in Middle Paleolithic, Aurignacian, Western Gravettian, and Magdalenian assemblages are at best morphological convergences which do not meet all the criteria put forward in the authors' definition.  As a consequence, Klaric et al. dismiss all such published artifacts from German sites as misinterpretations.
However, the present author believes that he has found what could be a true Kostienki knife at a surface site in the Mainz Basin of Germany.  The pertinent lithic material from this site and two neighboring localities is presented in this paper.  An attribution of the lithic material to the (Eastern) Gravettian would potentially have important implications for a collection of unusual objects originating from the two neighboring localities.  The larger of the two localities has yielded a painted anthropomorphic figurine, a limestone animal engraving, a perforated limestone pendant, and a fragment of modified fossil shell.  At the smaller locality a painted quartz pebble and a piece of native limestone with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic features have been recovered.  As was shown in four previous papers (Anderson 2015a, 2015b, 2016a, 2016b), most of these objects have Upper Paleolithic parallels.  A Gravettian origin for the collection is, therefore, not impossible.