The Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic Transition: What News?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reviews the state of the research on the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition following profound paradigm changes in the last three decades. The demise of the Eurocentric paradigm, which saw a linear shift from Neanderthals to moderns and from Middle to Upper Paleolithic lifeways, opened the field to a large number of competing hypotheses about the origins of modern humans and of modern behavior. It is suggested that the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition is a complex phenomenon that constitutes regional processes. Some of the new models attempting to explain the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition are a geographic and temporal projection of the Eurocentric thinking about the links between anatomical and behavioral modernity. While some researchers still employ empirical data as the building stones of their models, others strive to come up with theory-driven explanations for the shift from ``archaic'' to ``modern'' behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSourcebook of Paleolithic Transitions
Subtitle of host publicationMethods, Theories, and Interpretations
EditorsM Camps, P Chauhan
Place of PublicationNew York, NY.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-0-387-76478-8
StatePublished - 2009


  • Paradigm shift
  • Modern behavior
  • Out of Africa


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