The Use of Exotic Flint and the Neolithisation of the Lower Rhine Basin (NL)

Annelou van Gijn

Laboratory for Artefact Studies, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, PB 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands. E-mail:

Cite this as: van Gijn, A. 2009 The Use of Exotic Flint and the Neolithisation of the Lower Rhine Basin (NL), Internet Archaeology 26.


More than a millennium passed between the arrival of the first Bandkeramik farmers in Limburg, in present-day Netherlands, and the gradual incorporation of an agricultural way of life by the indigenous hunter-gatherers. During this time flint from further south found its way to the wetlands. Use-wear analysis of these imported flints shows a distinct difference in the way these objects were treated during the earlier and the later phase of the Michelsberg culture. In the earlier phase, tools were brought to the wetlands in an already used state, perhaps as a token of the affiliation with the farmers in the south-east. In the later phase, exotic tools were appropriated by the wetland communities and given a place in the technological system, albeit a very special one. It is argued that studying the hidden biography of objects gives us an 'inside' view of the neolithisation process and sheds light on how a new agricultural identity was negotiated.

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