This flint flaked cobble is from the Lower Palaeolithic period in Ukraine. It dates to ca. 621,000-474,000 BP (Marine Isotope Stage 13-15) and is from Layer IV in the ‘deer excavation’ at Medzhybizh 1. The artefact is illustrated in Stepanchuk (2022:Figure 8.8).
This small pebble of flint was flaked across one end by hard-hammer percussion, perhaps with anvil support. This may explain the irregular termination on the large flake scar. The resulting notched edge on the pebble’s margin appears to have been used as a tool. Small pebble cores are common elements of the Lower Palaeolithic toolkit in the region.
Hominins first moved beyond the Carpathian Mountains into Ukraine by 1.2 million years ago. They likely spread across the continent from warmer Mediterranean regions, attesting to their ability to adapt their technology to survive in colder northern conditions. Burned bone at Medzhybizh 1 and possible hearth features at Medzhybizh A suggests that these hominins used fire. They used a simple flaking technology to produce their stone tools, consisting of a combination of freehand percussion, anvil-supported percussion, and bipolar percussion. Most stone-flaking was done on small cobbles or pebbles of locally-available material. At Tunel Wielki Cave in Poland, larger flakes were themselves reduced as small cores. The edges of cores and flakes were used as tools to butcher animals, and faunal evidence from Medzhybizh 1 suggests that the hominins may have actively hunted deer. The hominin species may have been Homo heidelbergensis, although the early stone technology in these eastern regions lacks the handaxes thought to have been made by this hominin species in western parts of the European continent. The stone technology shares similarities with tools found in association with Eurasian Homo erectus hominin skeletons at the famous site of Dmanisi in Georgia, located to the east and south. Dmanisi dates to between about 1.77 and 1.85 million years ago.