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
3 Perforated Rössen Keile

3.1 Introduction: heavy duty implements

The successors of the Bandkeramik people extended the already known but not widely practised technique of stone perforation to high adzes of large dimensions and so developed the heavy ‘perforated high shoe last adze’ and the slightly less sophisticated durchlochte Breitkeil or ‘perforated broad wedge’. These implements have a wide distribution over the Dutch and North German plain, outside the known distribution area of the Rössen culture.

It is first of all remarkable that the receiving Swifterbant and Ertebølle communities managed to obtain these implements, which were highly valued by their producers, and that in considerable numbers, and not only the ‘left-overs’, but also first rate quality implements. However the extreme long ones, in the Rössen area probably used in a more social/ceremonial manner, are totally absent. The producers derived prestige from the exotic material and for the receivers the new forms and technology may in this perspective be added, apart from utilitarian use. How were they obtained? What may have been given as counter value? To what extent may we consider the transaction as a reciprocal exchange relation? To what counter values? May the wider distribution indeed be viewed as a down-the-line exchange or should we consider alternatives? A major drawback in answering such questions is the lack of find contexts. Most information has to be distracted from the artefacts themselves, from their dimensions, traces of use, secondary working, find locations and distribution patterns.