X-ray micro-CT scan Data of First Middle Palaeolitic tar backed tool from the Dutch North Sea

  • D. Ngan-Tillard (Creator)
  • Ellen Meijvogel-de Koning (Creator)
  • Geeske Langejans (Creator)
  • H van Keulen (Creator)
  • Johannes van der Plicht (Creator)
  • Kim M. Cohen (Creator)
  • Willy van Wingerden (Creator)
  • Bertil van Os (Creator)
  • Bjorn Smit (Creator)
  • L.W.S.W. Amkreutz (Creator)
  • Lykke Johansen (Creator)
  • Marcel Niekus (Contributor)
  • Paul Kozowyk (Contributor)
  • Annemieke Verbaas (Contributor)



The data set contains X-ray micro-CT scan data of a Middle Palaeolithic tar backed tool found in the Dutch North Sea. The tool consists of an undiagnostic flint flake embedded in a thick piece of birch tar dating from the Middle Palaeolithic. It is a significant find because 1) it is the first to be discovered in the Netherlands and the 5th in Europe and 2) both the composite nature of the tool and the presence of tar which resulted from a complex transformative technology illustrates the Neandertal intellectual capacities.
This is the first ever tar backed tool which has been securely dated, chemically analysed, subjected to optical microscopy wear analysis, and scanned with a X-ray micro-CT scanner. All analyses are presented and discussed in a multidisciplinary article written by Niekus et al.. The article has been submitted for review shortly after the scan data has been published in the 4TU Centre for Research Data. The micro-CT scan data which reveals the inner structure of the tar, the flint and the morphology of the flint-tar interface is presented as supplementary material to the article.
The data set is made of 5 types of files:
- Images of the digitally reconstructed tool in dcm format (dicom files). The images can be used to visualize the tool in 3D with public domain open source software ImageJ. They can also be further post-processed. Upon request the raw scan data (before re-construction) can be provided.
- The surface meshes of the flint and the tar in obj and ud3 formats. The surfaces can be inspected separately in 3D using public domain open source software Meshlab. They can also be 3D printed.
- A video in wmv format allowing to explore the inner and outer structure of the tool.
- A pdf describing features displayed in the video.
- A pdf containing the meta-data related to the scan and the data processing.
The tool has been dredged from dredging areas Q16F, H along the Dutch North Sea coast and deposited on the Zandmotor nourishment beach near The Hague, the Netherlands.
The age of the tool is approximately 50 000 cal BP (years before 1950 AD). The tool was discovered in 2016. It has been analysed and interpreted in 2016-2018. The micro-CT scan was performed in March 2017.
Date made available18-Feb-2019
PublisherTU Delft
Date of data production2017 - 2019
Geographical coverageQ16F.H, Dutch North Sea Coast

Keywords on Datasets

  • Archaeology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Image Processing
  • 3D print
  • Birch bark tar
  • Flint
  • Middle Palaeolithic
  • North Sea
  • X-ray micro-CT scan
  • Meshlab

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