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Archaic Minds? A critical examination of the character and perception of Middle and Early Upper Palaeolithic lithic assemblages in Germany and their implications for Neanderthal behaviour. Vols. 1-2

Drell, Julia R.R. (2003) Archaic Minds? A critical examination of the character and perception of Middle and Early Upper Palaeolithic lithic assemblages in Germany and their implications for Neanderthal behaviour. Vols. 1-2 University of Southampton, School of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis , 477pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


This thesis examines the classification of Palaeolithic lithic artefacts and their impact on our perception
of Neanderthal and - to some extent - anatomically modern human behaviour. It is my contention
that the classificatory systems used within European archaeology has shaped and perhaps misled our
perception of this period. In this thesis a focus on materials from Germany - the Middle Palaeolithic of
OIS 5 and 3, including those with leafpoints - is maintained to demonstrate the impact of the use of
distinct typological systems i.e. the system devised by Bosinski and published in 1967 versus the
French System Bordes. Germany is particularly relevant because of a lack of integration of its archaeological
materials and their interpretation with the critical dialogue that exists within the French,
British and American archaeological community. Although this is slowly changing and German archaeology
is now more critical and interpretative, the lack of interpretation extant was particularly
suitable for a critical analysis of the theories surrounding the late Middle Palaeolithic and Early Upper
Palaeolithic, including supposed "transitional' archaeological complexes.
In order to integrate the archaeology of OIS 5 and 3 with the pertinent archaeology of Europe the examination
commences with a survey of the 'Mousterian debate' and the 'Human revolution' in chapters
2 and 3. However, the focus throughout is on the archaeological material and its classification; a survey
of some of the materials supposed to derive form the *transitional" assemblages in France, Italy,
Britain and Poland is thus supplied. In chapter 5 the assemblages from RoBdorf and Wahlen in Hesse
are introduced in some detail providing a starting point for the discussion of the leafpoints of Germany
in chapter 6 and other Middle Palaeolithic material in chapter 7. The relevance and focus on leafpoints
in chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6 derives from the idea that they are markers of the "Human revolution' and
therefore lend themselves specifically to an examination of the questions surrounding this debate in
contrast to the Middle Palaeolithic variation encountered. A discussion follows in chapter 8 but conclusions
are made throughout
The contribution to the field of Middle Palaeolithic research and perceptions of the "Human revolution1
are several. On a basic level, this thesis provides an outline of the German Palaeolithic aggregating
materials. These are often difficult to find in the UK and no modern comprehensive academic account
exists in either German or English. This outline is supported by ample illustrations to facilitate that
access (photos, drawings, original publications). A critique of the Bosinski system of typological classification
is the focal point of the thesis. It becomes clear that the doubts expressed by Freund (1969)
have indeed become true and that the system does not provide a fitting account of the archaeological
record of Germany despite its persevering usage. While overall progress has been made within German
archaeology no system to deal with the varied record has been developed and the question of
Neanderthal behaviour, as opposed to that of modern humans, has been ignored. The critical examination
of the German typological system leads to a new descriptive effort whereby five leafpoint group
types replace the former Altmuhlian. This is not supposed to represent a typological but a descriptive
system i.e. no culture-historical inferences are made, leading to a more detailed understanding of the
archaeological record. This perspective of the archaeology, compared with the overall late Middle
Palaeolithic record as well as possible 'transitional' archaeological complexes lead to the express view
that more in-depth regional studies need to be conducted across Europe in order to address the question
of late Neanderthal behaviour. For the moment they have to be recognised as skilful practitioners
in diverse and extreme environments - a comparison with the pre-Gravettian, pre-artistic anatomically
modern human is not feasible.

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Submitted date: November 2003
Organisations: University of Southampton


Local EPrints ID: 50835
PURE UUID: 07daaab5-b440-4d39-a285-432504a62a12

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Date deposited: 04 Apr 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:50

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Author: Julia R.R. Drell
Thesis advisor: Clive Gamble

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