This flint retouched flake is from England. It likely dates from the late Mesolithic or Neolithic periods, ca. 9000-5000 BP.
The artefact is curated by the Australian Institute of Archaeology, catalogue no. IA24.161.
This retouched flake was made on a blade or blade-like flake. The flake was broken, probably as it was detached from the core: a bend-fracture occurred at the flake’s proximal end, with an inflexed finial is present on the ventral face. Retouching occurred across the broken end, and these retouched scars served as the platform surface for striking additional retouching flakes from the dorsal surface. Both lateral edges of the flake were unifacially retouched. At least two series of retouching occurred along the right (excurvate) edge, with the last series oriented at a steeper angle than the earlier retouching. The retouching scars were initiated conchoidally, resulting in relatively deep negative bulbs of force. This suggests that retouching was accomplished using a hard hammer percussion technique. The retouched edges converge to form a pointed distal end, although the edges were the functional parts of the tool. The left (straight) margin shows heavy use-wear microflaking towards the dorsal surface.
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.