Human Origins Leiden

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Palaeolithic Occupation of the Lower Rhine Basin

Status: In progress  
Project leaders:  

Large parts of the Netherlands consist of thick fluvial deposits laid down during the Pleistocene by the main rivers Rhine and Meuse. Avocational archaeologists have collected stone artefacts and faunal remains at many gravel pits in the Central Netherlands. The collections sample different parts of the Late and Middle Pleistocene sequence.

Key questions in this research are:

  • Distinguishing geofacts and artefacts (nature vs culture)
  • Surface alterations as indicators for the taphonomic history of the collections
  • Technological and typological description
  • Geological study of the fluvial system as a sampling mechanism
  • Chronological control derived from the chronostratigraphy of the fluvial deposits


Collection M.Franssen (Museum of Antiquities, Leiden) from the quarries Kwintelooijen (Rhenen II) and Vogelenzang (Rhenen I), concerning stone artefacts (and geofacts) from the ice-pushed ridges in the Central Netherlands (province of Utrecht) – minimum age estimate: MIS 6-7

Collection Offerman (Museum of Antiquities, Leiden) from quarries in the ice-pushed ridges in the Central Netherlands – minimum age estimate: MIS 6-7

Collection Woerden ZLW-U (P.Stoel, IJsselstein): stone artefacts, fauna etc from the Kreftenheye and Beegden Formations – minimum age estimates: MIS 3-4 and possibly MIS 11. Collaborators: P. Stoel, prof. dr. T. van Kolfschoten, dr. F. Busschers (TNO Utrecht)

The topic provides material for BA-theses of Leiden archaeology students.


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