Area „Old Stone Age/Paleolithic“ in the exhibition, © Matthias Nordmeyer, Museum Hameln
Pre- and Protohistory
Old Stone Age
The first tool of mankind is the hand ax. The typical drop or almond shape is characteristic. The oldest tools of this type were found in Africa and are 1.5 million years old. Over time, the processes and mechanics of manufacturing these types of objects evolve. The tools are getting smaller and finer. The age of these two hand axes is estimated to be 30,000 to 100,000 years.
Targeted processing of such flint core stones results in flakes and blades with sharp edges. Fine tools can be made from this. On the core stone you can see the negative of these broken off pieces. At the top and bottom you can see the lugs.
These coarse blades are sharpened in many processing strokes (retouching). They are between 15,000 and 10,000 years old and date to the transition phase to the Mesolithic.
Not only knives are made from flakes, but also other tools such as scrapers. These tools are used to process meat or wood.
Woolly rhinoceros – upper jaw, teeth
About half a million years ago these giants migrated to Europe. With their long hair and a thick, insulating undercoat, they are ideally protected from the freezing cold. Their powerful horn is used not only in combat, but also as a tool when feeding. Frozen plants can be loosened with it, snow can be pushed away.The last woolly rhinos died around 12,000 years ago. Most bones found today resurface during mining works in gravel, sand or clay pits. These teeth and the skull were found in a gravel pit near Tündern.
Mammoth – lower jaw, tusk
With a shoulder height of up to 3.50 m and a weight of up to six tons, mammoths are truly considered giants of the Paleolithic era. They are best known by numerous cave paintings. For the people of that time they represent ideal hunting prey. Their meat provides food for a long period of time. Fur, bones, tendons, and other organic materials are used to make clothes, huts, tools, jewelry, and art. Like our elephants today, mammoths are pure vegetarians. They feed on steppe grasses, herbs and bushes. These giants only have four molars that change up to four times in the course of their life.
Not only stones are processed into tools, but also bones, antlers or wood. This pointed instrument is made from an animal’s skull front plate and can be used as a burin or drill.