Experimental exploration of ‘intent’ in early hominin stone flaking: the Levallois method.

23rd December 2015

Mathew Smith

Department of Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology, University of New England, BSc(Hons), June 2015

Traditional views of the evolution of cognition in hominins hold that two early industries and an early stone working technique—the Oldowan, Acheulean and Levallois—reflect increases in complex cognitive ability and progression in intentional stone tool design. Results of recent experimental work, featuring random platform selection, challenge this view (Moore and Perston in preparation). This work found that many characteristics of Oldowan, Acheulean and Levallois stone tools could be recreated using basic methods of knapping, although the experimental cores did not completely match archaeological assemblages. One prediction of this prior work was that by modifying the experimental design to include platform preparation, experimental by-products might better simulate the Levallois Method in formal characteristics and frequency. This study tested this prediction by retaining random platform selection but applying ‘complex flake units’ that allowed platform preparation. The experiments created Levallois-like flakes more frequently, which exhibited some, but not all, of the characteristics in the typological definition of the Levallois Method.

Smith, M.
Experimental exploration of ‘intent’ in early hominin stone flaking: the Levallois method.
December 2015
81
S63
Thesis Abstracts
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