Before Farming

A case of techno-typological lithic variability & continuity in the late Lower Palaeolithic

Before Farming (2011), 2011, (1), 1–32.

Abstract

The late Lower Palaeolithic was a turbulent period with many changes in subsistence as well variations in the material culture. Yet, despite its importance, few detailed descriptions have been published. In this article we present a techno-typological report on the variability and continuity along the depositional sequence of Area C East, at the open-air site of Revadim, Israel. In order to learn how and in what ways smaller scale variations over time, as well as of micro- environmental changes, affect lithic assemblages the lithic assemblage was initially analysed through the raw material acquisition followed by the examination of flaking methods, analysing the geometrical organisation of the core's volume, recording debitage characteristics and the affinities of the retouched artefacts. The artefacts were documented using 3-D technology and novel methods for analysing the digital image. The technological analysis of the lithic assemblages revealed the existence of four main reduction sequences. The typological variations representing tactical, short term functional need, while the flaking methods are structured learned behaviours socially mediated exhibited via raw material exploitation. The lithic assemblage is a package of both technological and typological traits that remains stable through a prolonged (as yet unknown) period of time. The range of variations of lithic technology of Revadim (ie, the number of technological options and their relative frequency) is maintained throughout micro-environmental changes. The structure of variation observed in Revadim – within a smaller scale, has also been noticed in other Late Lower Palaeolithic assemblages, this in sharp contrast to previous studies of the Lower Palaeolithic and later Early Middle Palaeolithic.

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Malinsky-Buller, Ariel

Grosman, Leore

Marder, Ofer