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Solutrean Points of the Iberian Peninsula

Tool making and using behaviour of hunter-gatherers during the Last Glacial Maximum

Isabell Schmidt
Publication Year:
218pp. Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white: 26 tables, 34 colour figures (including 18 photographs), 62 black and white figures, 7 maps
BAR number:


Five basic Solutrean point types from the Iberian Peninsula are analysed at local, regional and Pan-Iberian scales in this book. The author reports new results concerning production process and object biography in relation to raw material procurement, technological strategies during production and use-life, site type and regional features. Significant regional differences between Northern and Southern Iberia are demonstrated, which go far beyond typological observations. Evidence indicates that different settlement and mobility patterns are responsible for these regional adaptations of technological innovations. The author successfully links point techno-morphology to human land use. The book is a major resource for the study of Solutrean points, as well as for studies on projectile points in general. In addition, it serves as a guideline for how to approach the study of land use of palaeolithic hunter-gatherers on the base of lithic technology.

Isabell Schmidt studied Prehistoric Archaeology at the Universities of Cologne (Germany) and Cape Town (Rep. of South Africa) and joined and conducted field work on both continents. Specialising in the analysis of lithic material, she obtained her MA thesis for a technological analysis of a Middle Stone Age assemblage from Namibia (2009) and her PhD for a large-scale study on human tool making and using behaviour during the Last Glacial Maximum at the Iberian Peninsula (2013). Her current postdoctoral research focuses on demographic changes and settlement histories of hunter-gatherer societies during the Late Pleistocene in Europe and southern Africa.

The work is classic in its rigor, with an emphasis on thorough description of empirical facts, caution, and scholarly thoroughness…It is a modern, far-reaching study cognizant of the complexities of forager lithic technologies and broader aspects of adaptations, but married to a highly (and laudably) descriptive opus…The documentation is clear, concise, and well-presented, with good illustrations…The volume includes a very complete, useful compendium of Solutrean radiocarbon dates, numerous tables and graphs, and a major appendix with capsule information on the sample of sites whose point collections were used in the study (either “in the flesh” or via the published references)… Schmidt’s work is a welcome and very substantive addition to Solutrean studies. And, for a BAR, it is magnificently produced, with clear writing, good illustrations (some in color), and excellent English.' Lawrence Guy Straus, Journal of Anthropological Research, Winter 2016