Recycling flint axes – new scientific study published

This month the Dutch government installed a 15 cent deposit on tin cans to encourage people to recycle their cans. Recycling is however not a recent invention, it has been around since early prehistory. During the Vlaardingen Culture phase (3400-2500 BC) flint axes were often recycled to make other tools such as scrapers and flint borers. To better understand the recycling of these axes we conducted several experiments with reconstructed flint axes. The experiments were now published in the journal Lithic Technology.

Flake core from Vlaardingen Arij Koplaan (trench 17), made from a recycled flint axe. The flakes struck from these kind of cores were used to make a wide variety of tools including borers, scrapers and strike-a-lights.

Based on our experiments we concluded that importance of recycled flint axes in this period was so far underestimated. We now estimate that on some sites up to 40% of all the flint originally came from broken/reused flint axes.

The article was published open access and it can be downloaded via this link.
Also read our previous blog about the setup of the experiments.