No image

Acheulian Large Flake Industries: Technology, Chronology, and Significance

Gonen Sharon


The Acheulian culture, which persisted for over one and a half million years, is attested in diverse environments and over wide geographical expanses. The hallmark of Acheulian culture is its large cutting tools, primarily handaxes and cleavers. Indeed, the culture itself was named after the site of St. Acheul on the terraces of the Somme River, France, where handaxes were first identified as prehistoric stone tools, an identification supported by finds from the Thames Valley. Large cutting tools very likely emerged in East Africa more than 1.5 million years ago but have been reported from a wide range of areas, spanning South Africa to Northern Europe, and India to the Iberian Peninsula. The aim of this study is to compare assemblages from geographically diverse sites characterized by the production of LCTs based on large flakes in an attempt to assess their technological, morphological, and typological suitability for grouping together as a common stage within the Acheulian techno-complex. This book begins with an introduction; Chapter 2 presents the methodological tools that were applied in the current study; Chapter 3 is the first of three central chapters whose purpose is to explore different aspects of Acheulian large cutting tools production on large flakes, and to synthesize it into a comprehensive descrAtion of the phenomenon. Chapter 3 presents an overview of a variety of core methods used in the technology of large-flake blank production from giant cores. Chapter 4 explores and discusses the techno logical features involved. Chapter 5 explores LCT morphology and shape. Chapter 6 is a synthesis of the data and results. Appendix A offers a summary of the available data regarding each of the sites that have provided samples for the present study. The data are summarized in a standard format, imparting the nature of each site and central archaeological points relating to it.