Info

Figure 6.4 Frequencies of backed knives recorded in southwestern French MTA industries, compared with those recorded in other industrial variants. All industries with backed-knife frequencies higher than 4 percent are attributed by Bordes to the MTA variant. axes (in both northern as well as the southwestern French sites) and may rank as much as a type fossil of the MTA variant as the more widely recognized hand-axe types (Fig. 6.4). How far similar type-fossil forms can be recognized in some...

Variations in sidescraper forms

Even if we accept that most side-scraper forms were produced from the outset as retouched tools, this still leaves much variation to be explained within the overall side-scraper range - i.e. the contrast between lateral and transverse types, single versus double-edged forms, variations in the shapes and treatment of the retouched edges (Figs 4.1, 4.2). What significance can be attached to this variation, either in terms of deliberate design norms in the initial production of the tools or in...

Language

Discussions on the origins and development of language have filled several books over the past decade (e.g. Chomsky 1986 Landsberg 1988 Lieberman 1990 Bickerton 1990 Parker & Gibson 1990 Gibson & Ingold 1993) and also spawned a society devoted exclusively to the study of language origins (Wind et al. 1989). It is tempting to suggest that there are almost as many views of the possible origins of language as there are linguists, psychologists and palaeoanthropologists who have written on...

The last interglacial period

The last interglacial period extending from ca 126,000 to 118,000 BP is one of the most intensively studied and best documented periods of the Pleistocene with relatively detailed records available from deep-sea cores, ice cores, high sea-level stands and many detailed pollen sequences (Watts 1988 Bradley 1985 Bowen 1978 West 1977 Shack-leton 1969, 1977 LIGA 1991a Sejrup & Larsen 1991). The period is known by different names in different parts of Europe -the 'Eemian' in northern Europe, the...

Les Canalettes

The excavations of Liliane Meignen in the rock shelter of Les Canalettes (Aveyron) have recently been published as a detailed monograph (Meignen 1993). The rock shelter occupies the western side of a small dry valley, located at an altitude of almost 700 metres in the central limestone region of the southern Figure 9.18 Plan of the excavated area in layer 2 of the Les Canalettes rock shelter. The position of the present rock overhang is indicated by the outer dashed line. The distributions...

Nw

Figure 8.3 Solar orientation of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic cave and rock-shelter sites in the northern Perigord region, as documented by Duchadeau-Kervazo (1982). In both cases the sites show a strong tendency to be oriented towards the south -presumably to obtain the maximum solar radiation. south of the Dronne (Duchadeau-Kervazo 1982, 1986 Geneste 1985) (Figs 8.1, 8.5). It would seem that in many contexts these smaller tributary valleys offered the most attractive habitats for Middle...

The Denticulate and Typical Mousterian variants

In contrast to the sharply defined patterning of the Ferrassie, Quina and MTA industries, the various occurrences of so-called Typical and Denticulate Mousterian industries in southwestern French sites are of a very different character. From the Combe Grenal sequence alone it is evident that both variants can occur in at least two separate points in the stratigraphic sequence (Fig. 6.22) and the same pattern is confirmed by evidence from a number of other sites in the same region, notably Pech...

Evaluation of the Bordes taxonomy

There have been a number of attempts over the past 30 years to subject the Bordes taxonomy to more rigorous statistical analysis, employing multivariate analytical techniques. The earliest attempt was published by Doran and Hodson in 1966, based on a small series of 16 assemblages recovered from five different sites in southwestern France (Pech de l'Aze I, Abri Chadourne, Hauteroche, Ermitage, Mas-Viel). The same type of analysis was later applied to a larger sample of 33 assemblages...

The archaeological perspective

There remains the question how far the Bin-ford models can be reconciled with some of the hard archaeological evidence for the character, chronology and associations of the major industrial variants of the Mousterian in the southwestern French sites. These issues have been debated at length in earlier papers (e.g. Mellars 1969, 1970 Bordes & de Sonneville-Bordes 1970 Binford 1973 etc.), and many of the most pertinent issues are no less relevant now than they were 20 years ago. My own view,...

Nonlithic Circumstances

Figure 10,5 Rolland's model of how various environmental and other factors can influence the degree of tool reduction in Middle Palaeolithic sites. After Rolland 1990 Fig. 13.1. 208). A further contributary factor would be the variable mobility of the groups, which would similarly influence the ease with which new flint supplies could be collected in the course of routine foraging activities (Roll-and & Dibble 1990 488-9 Rolland 1981 22). In short, heavily reduced lithic industries would be...

Grotte du Lazaret

The spatial patterns documented by Henry de Lumley (1969a) in the later Acheulian levels of the Lazaret cave, in the Department of Alpes Maritimes, close to Nice, provide interesting comparisons with those documented in the Grotte Vaufrey excavations discussed above. The site consists of a large cave directly overlooking the Mediterranean coast and located, at the time of occupation, about 500 metres from the contemporary coastline. Vertically, the cave stands approximately 100 metres above the...

Neanderthal Site Fonseigner

Figure 5.12 'Intensity of utilization of raw materials deriving from different sources in the assemblages from Fonseigner layer D (upper) and Grotte Vaufrey layer VIII (lower). Both graphs indicate how the intensity of utilization of the different flint sources (as reflected by the overall frequencies of retouched and utilized pieces in the different raw materials) tends to increase with the overall distances over which the materials have been transported. After Geneste 1989b. other located 15...

Summary

The problems inherent in any analysis of the spatial organization of Middle Palaeolithic Figure 9.30 Cast of the post-hole recorded by Bordes in one of the later Mousterian levels (layer 14, containing a Denticulate Mousterian industry) at Combe Grenal. The stake was approximately 4 cm in diameter, and penetrated for a depth of at least 20 cm into the underlying deposits. After Bordes 1972. Figure 9.30 Cast of the post-hole recorded by Bordes in one of the later Mousterian levels (layer 14,...

Sites in the Landscape

The aim of this chapter is to examine the spatial patterning of Middle Palaeolithic sites on a regional basis - i.e. in terms of the overall distribution of sites across the landscape, and in relation to the various environmental, topographic or other factors which seem to have influenced both the specific location of sites and their distribution in different ecological or environmental zones. What patterns if any can we discern in the overall spatial distribution of Middle Palaeolithic sites...

Side scrapers

Side scrapers alternatively known by the French term racloirs have always been seen as one of the most distinctive retouched tool forms in Middle Palaeolithic industries and in the earlier literature were often regarded as a diagnostic feature of these industries e.g. de Mortillet 1883 . In fact, typical side-scraper forms, effectively identical to those encountered in the Mousterian and related industries, are known to occur throughout the greater part of the Lower Palaeolithic sequence...

B

Beaulieu Reille Grande Pile

Figure 2.7 Vegetational sequence covering the last glacial I inter glacial cycle recorded at Les Echets in the northern Rhone valley eastern France . Correlations with the main stadial and interstadial phases defined in the Grande Pile sequence Fig. 2.6 are shown on the right. After de Beaulieu amp Reille 1984. Figure 2.7 Vegetational sequence covering the last glacial I inter glacial cycle recorded at Les Echets in the northern Rhone valley eastern France . Correlations with the main stadial...

Colonization scenarios

How and why a major episode of population dispersal occurred at this particular point in the Upper Pleistocene has been much discussed e.g. Zubrow 1989 Mellars 1989a, 1992b Kozlowski 1993 Bar-Yosef 1994 Gamble 1993 . It is now clear from recent dating of the large samples of skeletal remains from the sites of Skhul and Qafzeh in Israel that human populations that were essentially modern in most anatomical respects Fig. 13.7 , had become established in the Middle East by around 100,000 BP and...

The functional variability Models of Lewis Binford

Few debates had a greater impact on Palaeolithic archaeology during the post-war period than those surrounding the 'func- tional' models of industrial variability proposed in several publications by Lewis Binford initially in collaboration with Sally Binford Binford amp Binford 1966, 1969 Bin-ford 1973, 1983a see also Freeman 1966 . These interpretations were formulated initially during the early years of the 1960s and, as Binford has emphasized, were presented largely as an explicit reaction...

Southwestern France as a human habitat

One of the most striking and widely recognized features of the archaeological record of the Perigord and adjacent areas of southwestern France is the sheer wealth and abundance of the evidence for Palaeolithic occupation. This pattern is well documented for both the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic periods and is reflected not only in the overall totals of occupied sites - running into several hundred for both the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic see Chapter 8 - but also in the density and...

P

Figure 9.14 Distribution of small long-bone splinters in the Grotte du Lazaret. After de Lumley et al. 1969. to indicate that the areas immediately adjacent to the hearths served as major centres of industrial and processing activities on the site, involving both the in situ flaking of flint nodules and the deliberate smashing of bones for extraction of marrow. Interestingly, a similar concentration of flint debitage and bone splinters was recorded around the edges of a large stone block at the...

Population dispersal in Europe the archaeological perspective

There is little doubt that many of the current controversies in the interpretation of available genetic and anatomical evidence stem from the attempt to adopt a single, unified view for the emergence of anatomically modern populations which is applicable to all areas of the world, regardless of the character of local geographical and environmental circumstances, or the particular patterns of demographic and evolutionary development within each region. Fortunately, the issues here are simpler...

Interstadial Arcy

gt i P p. - y. -.-.' o' . y. . . f gt .'0. . - H Figure 2.28 Stratigraphic and archaeological sequence recorded in the lower shelter at Le Moustier, showing the results of TL dating of burnt flint samples carried out by Valladas et al. 1986 and ESR dating of animal teeth by Mellars amp Gr n 1991 . Note that the ESR dates are calculated according to two different models of uranium uptake in the teeth the 'early-uptake' and 'linear-uptake' models , which yield slightly different results on both...

Raw material patterns in tool production

The question of apparent links or relationships between particular kinds of raw material and particular forms of retouched tools in Middle Palaeolithic contexts has been raised several times in the literature e.g. Tavoso 1984 Geneste 1985 526-37, 1988 460, 487-9 Otte et al 1988 96-8 Dibble 1991a Dibble amp Rolland 1992 Binford 1992 . As yet, only limited attention has been devoted to these patterns and systematic analytical data to support the claimed correlations between tool morphology and...

Behavioural change

A criticism sometimes made against earlier discussions of the character of the Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition is that these have relied on very broad characterizations of archaeological evidence from the two periods, in a way which tends to exaggerate the true character of behavioural changes over the period of the hypothetical transition itself e.g. Simek amp Price 1990 243 Clark amp Lindly 1989 634 . Thus, the charge is levelled that proponents of a behavioural 'revolution' at this...

Bifacial tools

Bifacial Tools

Bifacially worked tools in the Middle Palaeolithic make up a broad and heterogeneous group which evidently comprises a number of discrete and sharply differentiated forms. Since these forms have been fully described in earlier literature e.g. Bordes 1961a, 1984 and pose rather fewer interpretative prob lems than some of the other types, they will be discussed here more briefly. Forms conventionally described as 'hand axes' are distinguished essentially by four basic features first, by a...

Openair sites

The systematic study of the abundant Middle Palaeolithic open-air sites in southwestern France is still in its infancy. Despite over a century of avid collecting from these sites by amateur and professional archaeologists, it is only during the last twenty years that any serious and controlled attempt has been made to survey and document the sites in any detail Rigaud 1969, 1982 Le Tensorer 1973, 1981 Turq 1977a,b, 1978,1988a, 1989a, 1992b Geneste 1985 Duchadeau-Kervazo 1982, 1986 . Despite the...

Tata Hungary Neanderthal Cross

Figure 12.5 Perforated bones and teeth from the Middle Palaeolithic levels of Repolosthohle, Austria nos 1, 2 the Micoquian levels of Bocksteinschmiede, Germany nos 3, 5 - a wolf metapodium and swans vertebra respectively and the Acheulian levels ofPech de VAzell, France no. 4 . After Bednarik 1992 nos 1, 2 Marshack 1990 nos 3, 5 Bordes 1969 no. 4 . Figure 12.5 Perforated bones and teeth from the Middle Palaeolithic levels of Repolosthohle, Austria nos 1, 2 the Micoquian levels of...

The Early Glacial period ca BP

Beaulieu Reille Grande Pile

It is now clear that the earlier stages of the last glacial period were characterized by a complex but clearly defined pattern of climatic oscillations. In the isotope records of deep-sea cores Fig. 2.1 this period comprised four main stages, of which two, stages 5d and 5b, were quite clearly glacial in character while the other two, 5c and 5a, were much warmer 'interstadial' episodes marked by a sharp increase in world-wide temperature conditions and a corresponding reduction in the overall...

Non Levallois techniques

Levallois techniques were only one of the major strategies of primary flake production employed by Middle Palaeolithic groups. The existence of many alternative flaking strategies has been recognized since the earliest stages of research into the Middle Palaeolithic e.g. Bourlon 1906, 1910, 1911 , and it is now evident that these alternative techniques were often employed alongside Levallois methods or, in some cases, to the total exclusion of Levallois techniques. The special case of blade...

Symbolism and style in tool manufacture

The possibility that evidence for symbolism may be reflected in the morphology and patterns of manufacture of stone tools has also been much discussed. Holloway 1969, 1983 argued that the mere existence of clearly differentiated forms of stone tools at Olduvai Gorge and elsewhere could be taken as reasonable evidence for the existence of essentially linguistic mental concepts two million years ago. The same idea has been repeated in many other publications Isaac 1969 Parker amp Gibson 1979...

Introduction

The Neanderthals have always been something of an enigma. Since their initial discovery in the middle of the last century opinions have tended to polarize between two extremes between those who saw the Neanderthals as standing directly astride the main course of human evolution, only slightly different in either their physical or mental capabilities from modern populations and those who saw them, by contrast, as much more primitive figures, with behavioural and physical capacities radically...

Discussion

Corbiac Archaeology

The impression which emerges is that Middle Palaeolithic sites are by no means lacking in certain kinds of internal organization, or even clear 'structure7, when viewed in spatial terms. The patterns documented at the Grotte du Lazaret, Grotte Vaufrey, Les Canalettes, Arcy-sur-Cure etc. leave no doubt that the various economic, technological and social activities carried out on Middle Palaeolithic sites were patterned and regulated in various ways by certain spatial constraints which, despite...

The Binford model

Recently, a stark alternative to the idea of essentially modern patterns of social organization among Neanderthal and earlier populations has been argued forcefully in the publications of Lewis Binford, based largely on his studies of the detailed spatial organization of the various occupation levels at Combe Grenal Binford 1992, and personal communication . In essence, Binford believes that it is possible to identify several clear and repeated patterns in the spatial distribution of hearths,...

M T A

Figure 6.16 Stratigraphie distribution of Ferrassie, Quina and MTA industries within the Mousterian succession at Combe Grenal, according to Bordes 1961b 1972 etc. The industries from layers 28-31 were classified in Bordes' original publication of the site 1955a as representing an 'attenuated Ferrassie' variant, but were later reclassified as 'Typical Mousterian enriched in radons'. 2. Further support for the stratigraphie patterns documented at Combe Grenal is provided by all other sites in...

Stone Tool Technology

Studies of stone-tool technology have always occupied a central position in approaches to the Middle Palaeolithic. The reasons for this are evident. Here, as in the rest of the Palaeolithic, stone-tool assemblages provide by far the most durable and complete record of human development with a degree of continuity and fine-scale resolution which is much better than that of the associated faunal assemblages and far more complete than that of the skeletal remains of the populations involved. Not...

Blade technology

One of the most significant developments over the past few years has been the recognition that the repertoire of primary flaking techniques employed in the European Middle Palaeolithic involved not only the conventional forms of Levallois or non-Levallois flake production but a surprisingly strong component of deliberate and highly specialized blade production. This has been recognized for more than 40 years in the Middle Palaeolithic sequence of the Near East notably in the various occurrences...

Burial practices

Ferrassie Plan

The long-debated topic of Middle Palaeolithic burials and associated burial rituals raise issues similar to those discussed above. Is the archaeological evidence reliable If it is, what can we legitimately infer from it about the symbolic or other nature of the behaviour represented The issue of Middle Palaeolithic burial practices has been discussed at length in a Current Anthropology review article by Robert Gargett 1989 . Gargett sets out the case systematically against the acceptance of...

Hunting strategies

Finally, what evidence do we have for the actual techniques or strategies of hunting in Middle Palaeolithic contexts The evidence is admittedly limited, but may provide some critical insights into behavioural patterns. 1. First, there is now strong evidence for the use of some forms of heavy-duty thrusting or penetrating spears in certain Middle Palaeolithic contexts, and apparently even from the later stages of the Lower Palaeolithic. The best documented examples are the yew-wood spear with a...

The Big Transition

Perhaps the most intriguing and enigmatic aspects of the Middle Palaeolithic period is how and why it came to an end, after a period of around 200,000 years of remarkable stability. From the preceding chapters it has emerged that while there were significant shifts in the precise morphology and technology of stone tool production, subsistence patterns, site distributions etc. at different stages of the Middle Palaeolithic, very few if any of these seem to reflect any radical reorganization or...

Character of openair sites

Any attempt to identify the activities carried out in open-air sites is inevitably beset by the various problems outlined earlier - especially by the lack of organic remains from all except a small handful of sites and the lack of information from controlled excavations on the overall extent, size and internal spatial organization of sites. Some of the clearer and apparently well documented patterns which have emerged from recent work can be summarized as follows 1. The feature which has been...

Mauran Bison Profile

Bison Profile

Figure 7.24 Estimated age distribution of the remains of aurochs from La Borde upper and remains of Bison from Mauran lower , based on crown-height measurements of molar teeth. Allowing for the selective destruction of the youngest and most fragile teeth, both patterns seem to reflect a 'catastophic age profile, similar to that to be expected in a living herd. After Slott-Moller 1990 and David amp Farizy 1994. 1. There can be no doubt that the composition of the faunal assemblages recovered...

M

Figure 9.5 Distribution of unworked river cobbles in layer VIII of the Grotte Vaufrey. After Rigaud amp Geneste 1988. occasional use of the cave as a carnivore den, there is considerable debate about how much this has contributed to the faunal assemblage. From a study of various taphonomic aspects of the bones, Binford 1988 has suggested that most of the faunal remains recov ered from the main area of industrial activity along the southern wall of the cave probably derive from carnivore...

Non Levallois blade techniques

This final strategy of blade production is categorized by Boeda as entirely 'non-Leval-lois' in character, and is regarded by him in most respects as almost identical to that documented in fully Upper Palaeolithic industries. The best documented example discussed by Boeda is from the site of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme where a small but closely associated series of conjoining flakes Figs 3.23, 3.24 was recovered from deposits provisionally and rather tenuously attributed to the early or middle...

Critique of the Binford model

Binford's model for the Combe Grenal occupations - and by implication for the social organization of Neanderthal groups in general - has all the classic Binfordian hallmarks of originality, ingenuity and radical creativity, and in the final analysis of course he could be right. The difficulties of identifying the sexual composition of social groups from the character and organization of occupation residues are self-evident - and indeed from this perspective we might well be pessimistic of ever...

Combe Grenal

The classic excavations of Fran ois Bordes at the site of Combe Grenal have already been referred to at several points in earlier chapters. The site at present consists of a small cave, preceded by a rock overhang, located on the south-facing slope of a small dry valley only one kilometre to the south of its confluence with the main Dordogne valley. Excavations carried out by Fran ois Bordes between 1953 and 1965 revealed a sequence of almost 13 metres of rich archaeological deposits,...

Eastern Micoquian

Neanderthal Backed Knife

lt 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 lt 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 lt 1.8 1.8 2.1 2.4 2.7 3.0 3.3 3.6 Figure 4.23 Length-over-breadth ratios of bifaces recorded for various MTA industries from southwestern French sites, compared with those for the earlier 'Acheulian industries from La Micoque and La Chaise. The graph shows that elongated, pointed hand-axe forms are effectively lacking from the MTA industries. From Mellars 1967. Figure 4.24 Breadth-over-thickness ratios of bifaces recorded...

Social and mobility implications of raw material distributions

The most valuable aspect of raw material procurement studies is the insight they provide into patterns of mobility of Neanderthal groups and on their possible social or territorial relationships with other groups. Problems in this context should not be minimized, however. We still have extremely limited information on seasonal occupation in different sites and in the absence of this evidence any speculation on annual movement must remain very tentative. However, a number of patterns which...

Levallois techniques

Levallois techniques have been recognized as one of the most distinctive hallmarks of Middle Palaeolithic technology since the original definition of the Mousterian by Gabriel de Mortillet in the late nineteenth century de Mortillet 1883 240, 255 see also Commont 1909 122 . The central and diagnostic feature of these techniques has always been seen as the attempt to control or predetermine the overall shape and size of the intended flakes by means of careful preparation of one face of the...

Lineal Levallois techniques

In terms of Bo da's definition lineal Levallois techniques are strategies designed essentially for production of only a single major flake removal from the prepared core surface. In this sense the definition coincides with the classic definition of Levallois flakes presented in most of the earlier textbooks Fig. 3.3 . In Bo da's research, these techniques were best represented at the site of Bagarre Pas-de-Calais in northern France which appears to date from a stage of the penultimate...

Industrial Taxonomy and Chronology

The challenge of documenting, analysing and ultimately explaining the bewildering array of technical and typological variation within the Middle Palaeolithic industries of Western Europe has largely dominated research for the past 40 years. The endless debates which have arisen over the interpretation of this variation will be discussed in Chapter 10. It may be useful to focus here on the more pragmatic issues of the overall scale and character of this patterning and to review some of the...

Classical Levallois blade technology

The fact that certain forms of essentially typical Levallois cores were intended for the production of elongated, blade-like flakes has been recognized sporadically in the literature throughout the present century e.g. Commont 1909, 1913 Breuil amp Kozlowski 1932 Bordes 1961a 72 . The distinctively Levallois aspect of these cores lies in the deliberate preparation of a continuous striking platform extending around the circumference of the core, from which a series of initial, preparatory flakes...

Recurrent techniques

The definition of 'recurrent' Levallois techniques in Bo da's terms lies in the clear intention, from the initial stages of core preparation, to produce not one but a repeated succession of flakes of predetermined shape and size from the same, carefully prepared upper face of the core Bo da 1988a e.g. Fig. 3.9 . In this sense they are more economical in terms of flaking effort than the lineal techniques described above, requiring much less systematic reshaping or modification of the core...

Backed knives

Naturally Backed Knife

Typical backed knives provide a fourth distinctive category of retouched tool forms in the Middle Palaeolithic. The basic technological features are clear cut first, one sharp, regular and normally unretouched edge running along one lateral margin and second, the presence of steep, abrupt retouch applied to much of the opposite edge Fig. 4.19 . The general functional orientation of the tools seems equally clear the unretouched, sharp edge of the flake is generally assumed to represent a knife...