Petrological studies of Middle Neolithic stone artefacts from the Salenhof archaeological site near Trillfingen (SW Germany) give evidence for an early diversified long-distance exchange system

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Volker Stähle
Rainer Altherr
Günther Unrath
Alexander Varychev


The Salenhof (N 48.384071/E 8.822974) archaeological site near Trillfingen contains fragmentary shards of ornamented pottery of the Hinkelstein, Großgartach, Planig-Friedberg and Rössen cultures/groups. In total, 1209 retouched silex artefacts could be recovered at the Middle Neolithic settlement. The high fractions of silex borers (40.9 % of the artefacts) and arrowheads (5.4 %) suggest that jewelry production and hunting activities played a substantial role in addition to ordinary farming activities. Various archaeological objects of imported materials were petrologically studied with standard high resolution research methods. The artefacts consist of material derived from eight remote localities: fine-grained metabasic rocks (amhibolites) from Jistebsko in Northern Bohemia (1), arrowheads and silex artefacts from Lengfeld (2) and Abensberg-Arnhoven (3) in Bavaria, fine-grained eclogites from Monviso (4) in the Western Alps, semi-transparent arrowheads of Cretaceous flint from Rijckholt near Maastricht in the Netherlands (5) and from the Paris Basin (6), siliceous red iron ores from the Lahn-Dill region (7), and a large arrowhead of silex material from Auggen/Schliengen in the Markgräflerland in SW Germany (8). All these artefacts are evidence of far-reaching contacts and the transfer of goods within a Middle Neolithic population at Salenhof. The climax of an early, diversified long-distance exchange system in Central Europe may have occurred during the period of the Rössen Culture ca. 6700 years ago.

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Stähle, Volker, Rainer Altherr, Günther Unrath, and Alexander Varychev. 2019. “Petrological Studies of Middle Neolithic Stone Artefacts from the Salenhof Archaeological Site Near Trillfingen (SW Germany) Give Evidence for an Early Diversified Long-Distance Exchange System”. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology 20 (February), 131-58.