Tag Archive for: Vlaardingen

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.

Launching the dugout on September the 16th

On 16 September, the dugout – or boat made from a hollowed log – was launched at Natsec, a canoe club near the Vlaardingen cultuurhuis (figure 1). The making of the dugout, which is part of the research project Putting Life into Late Neolithic houses, started in June 2021 and lasted through July 2022. Starting from an oak tree, it took the volunteers of Masamuda 30.433 minutes, or 507 hours, or more than 21 entire days to finish the dugout. During those 507 working hours, the volunteers performed no less than 516 experiments with various tools and had to register every experiment on paper (figure 2).

Figure 1: Launching the dugout on 16 September 2022.


Figure 2: Erwin, Ellen and Leo filling in the paperwork on 26 June 2021.

The volunteers, of which the majority had no previous experience in making a dugout, worked exclusively with a Neolithic toolkit. Such a prehistoric toolkit consists of axes and adzes, wedges made of antler, chisels of antler or bone, and flint scrapers. In addition to the dugout, they also made paddles from ash tree.

The Putting Life team wishes to thank the volunteers for their effort, endeavor and dedication in making the dugout.