This flint end scraper is from Kent, England. Although the antiquarian collector labelled the artefact as Aurignacian in age, it more likely dates from the late Mesolithic or early Neolithic periods, ca. 9000-5000 BP.
The artefact is curated by the Australian Institute of Archaeology, catalogue no. IA24.318.
This end scraper was made on a relatively wide blade-like flake. The flake was struck down a ridge on the core formed by prior flake removals from the same platform and in the same direction. The blow was struck very close to the edge, resulting in a small platform, with some prior flaking across the platform to adjust the core edge. An indirect percussion technique was likely used to initiate the fracture. The ridge was relatively flat, particularly in the area close to the platform, and the flake spread laterally during detachment. The bulb of percussion is pronounced because of this flat core contour. The distal end of the flake was retouched into a convex shape by the removal of short, non-invasive flakes towards the dorsal surface. The edge shows microflaking use-wear, which has slightly undercut the retouched face. The left lateral margin was also retouched, and flake scars on the right lateral margin appears to be a mixture of use-wear and taphonomic damage.
During the Mesolithic period, Britain was connected to continental Europe by the land mass known as ‘Doggerland’. Doggerland flooded ca. 8200-8500 years ago, isolating the population there, who continued subsisting on hunting and gathering until the arrival of Neolithic farmers from Europe ca. 6000 BP, about 1000 years after they spread across Europe. A 2019 analysis of ancient DNA suggest these people were related to people in Iberia, who themselves came into Europe around the Mediterranean coast from a hinterland on the Aegean Sea. The Mesolithic hunter-gatherers were genetically replaced by these newcomers. A second wave of immigrants arrived ca. 4000-4500 BP, called the Bell Beaker culture, with DNA ancestry related to Yamnaya pastoralists who invaded Europe from the Western Steppe. Yamnaya ancestry composed about 90% of the genetic profile of subsequent populations in Britain ‘within a few hundred years’ after their arrival. The arrival of the Bell Beaker culture in Britain signals the beginning of the Bronze Age and the end of the Neolithic.