Lost and found: Technological trajectories within Lower/Middle Paleolithic transition in Western Europe, North of the Pyrenees

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Over the last 150 years, the Paleolithic era was divided into the Lower, Middle and Upper Paleolithic. This scheme is an arbitrary research construct that confounds chronological, behavioral, and evolutionary meanings. Transitions between these discrete units, and in particular the Lower/Middle Paleolithic transition, received lesser attention. At present, the Lower/Middle Paleolithic transition is still depicted as a worldwide change from biface production to Levallois technology, similar to the way it has been perceived in the initial stages of research. Some key questions remain open for further inquiry: What changed technologically and typologically beyond those guide fossils? What is the geographical variation of this global change(s)? Did changes occur as a result of autochthonous developments in each region or by a diffusion wave (s)? What is the societal process(es) that promoted this evolutionary change? In this paper, I explore the techno-typological variations (reduction sequences and tool kits) in Europe north of the Pyrenees and how these traits pattern diachronically and spatially in the interval of MIS 9–7, the period during which the transition between Lower and Middle Paleolithic is suggested to occur. The first step will be to describe the range of behaviors that existed during each MIS. The presentation of those variants will track the decision-making processes within reduction sequences. The techno-typological variants will be studied in relation to their relative abundance within each assemblage. Then, I will attempt to estimate if observed changes in those traits resulted from a continuous processes or whether the record constitutes of segmented local histories.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)104-148
Number of pages45
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA


  • Biface
  • Innovation processes
  • Levallois
  • Lithic technology
  • Lower–Middle Paleolithic transition


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