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Hafting with beeswax in the Final Palaeolithic: a barbed point from Bergkamen

  • Michael Baales (a1) (a2), Susanne Birker (a3) and Frank Mucha (a4)

During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), much of the familiar insect fauna of Northern Europe today was confined to the warmer areas south of the Alps. Chemical and microscopic analysis of hafting residues on a Final Palaeolithic barbed point from Westphalia in Germany has, for the first time, yielded evidence for the use of beeswax as a major component of adhesive during the later stages of the LGM. Analysis also confirmed that the beeswax was tempered with crushed charcoal. AMS dating of the Bergkamen barbed point suggests direct association with the Final Pleistocene Federmessergruppen, approximately 13000 years ago. Furthermore, the adhesive provides the first direct evidence of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, in Europe following the LGM.

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