Bout-coupé is a term used by archaeologists to describe a type of handaxe that constituted part of the Mousterian industry of the Middle Palaeolithic.

The handaxes are bifacially-worked and in the shape of a rounded triangle. They are traditionally diagnostic of Neanderthal tool working.

In Britain, examples are found in river gravels from Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3), a cold temperate period in the middle Devensian. There are no signs of human occupation during the warm Ipswichian interglacial, so the bout coupé handaxes indicate a Neanderthal re-colonisation of Britain around 50,000 years ago. However, they have been found as early as 60-65,000 years ago at the Lynford quarry site in Norfolk (Boismier, 2002: 56).

For more information on the presence and absence of Homo in the Pleistocene see the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) site.

External links

Boismier, B, 2002. Lynford Quarry, A Neanderthal butchery site. 'Current Archaeology'. No. 182, Vol. 182 No. 2, November 2002.

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