Bringing behaviour into focus: archaic landscapes and lithic technology
Walker, Elizabeth A., Wenban-Smith, Francis and Healy, Frances (eds.)
In Lithics in Action.
Oxbow books., .
- Version of Record
This paper focuses on moving beyond characterization of the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in terms of the
technology and typology of lithic artefacts, to address the behaviour and cognitive capabilities of the
Archaic hominid communities of which the lithic evidence is the most abundant trace. Although undisturbed
evidence from short-lived episodes of activity has previously been emphasized for its potential for behavioural
reconstruction, it is suggested here that the excavation of palimpsests representing the conflated evidence
from repeated episodes of activity may, paradoxically, give a clearer view of the behaviour of Archaic
hominids and, in particular, their capacity for a modern style of adaptation. This approach is explored
through a case-study at the site of Red Barns, Hampshire, where the lithic evidence reveals a clear pattern
of handaxe manufacture and removal, suggesting use of the site as a tooling-up base and implying the
capacity for Archaic hominids to anticipate future tool needs and equip in advance accordingly.
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