Abstract The Middle Pleistocene to Late Pleistocene transition (MIS 6/5e transition), which has been observed within the loamy sediments of the VLL and VLB sites at Veldwezelt-Hezerwater, was a period of remarkable change in both climate and environment. Indeed, the incipient VLL-VLB soil horizons at Veldwezelt-Hezerwater seem to represent Late Saalian phases of pedogenesis under boreal conditions just prior to the MIS 6/5e transition. The pedostratigraphical position provides a firm basis to conclude that the VLL and VLB soil horizons at Veldwezelt-Hezerwater represent the terrestrial equivalent of the Late Saalian ‘Zeifen Interstadial’ (MIS 6.01), whereas the capping GSL unit seems to represent the terrestrial equivalent of the so-called ‘Kattegat Stadial’. Indeed, assuming that Northwest Europe was too hostile for humans during the extremes of MIS 6 and given the pattern highlighted by Gamble (1986) that Northwest Europe seems to be a bit of a wasteland during MIS 5e, then the VLL and VLB sites at Veldwezelt-Hezerwater offer unique snapshots of people appearing in Northwest Europe for a short spell (MIS 6.01) and then going away again. Indeed, during the period of climatic amelioration during the ‘Zeifen Interstadial’ (ca. 133,000 years BP), which followed the Saalian Glacial Maximum (ca. 135,000 years BP), Northwest Europe probably saw a significant demographic expansion and the development of ‘new’ Middle Palaeolithic technologies. During the Middle Pleistocene to Late Pleistocene transition phase, semi-rotating parallel/prismatic and opportunistic core reduction strategies and ‘small tools’ were in place at the VLL site at Veldwezelt-Hezerwater. So-called ‘expedient’ core reduction strategies wereused to flake locally-found low-quality lithic raw materials. At the VLB site at Veldwezelt-Hezerwater, the same trend towards ‘parallel’ core reduction was also present. However, it is very interesting to see that at the VLB site, Levallois core reduction has also been attested.


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