Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 4-1 (October 2012)Leo Verhart: Contact in stone: adzes, Keile and Spitzhauen in the Lower Rhine Basin1


This article concerns the distribution of LBK adzes and post LBK Rössen Keile in the Lower Rhine Basin. In the Rössen stage contacts are more intensive and Keile are distributed over a wide area. Two distinct spheres of influence can be distinguished. In the south of the Lower Rhine Basin no Keile are found, indicating no eastern contact with the Rössen communities in the Rhineland. In the middle and north there is an eastern, Rössen sphere of influence, visible by the distribution of Keile north of the line Amsterdam-Liège.

The function of Keile in Mesolithic territory is hard to specify. Based on wear traces an identical use as in Rössen territory can be proposed in which working wood was the main activity. They may have had a complementary role as club heads for hunting and warfare or as prestigious symbols. Repairs of shaft holes in a Mesolithic pecking technique and the presence of possible imitations in the form of Spitzhauen are indications that contacts between the hunter-gatherers and agrarian communities were limited and not direct.