September 28, 2014

Levallois technology in Nor Geghi 1, Armenia

From the paper:
Empirical evidence supports the contention that Levallois technology is an inherent property of the Acheulian that evolves out of the existing, but previously separate technological systems of façonnage and débitage (7, 35), and shows that Acheulian bifacial technology and Levallois technology are homologous, reflecting an ancestor-descendant relationship (36). Rather than a “technical breakthrough” that spread from a single point of origin, Levallois technology resulted from the gradual synthesis of stone knapping behaviors shared among hominins in Africa and those indigenous to the Acheulian dispersal area in Eurasia (Fig. 1). Consequently, the development of Levallois technology within Late Acheulian contexts represents instances of technological convergence.

Science 26 September 2014: Vol. 345 no. 6204 pp. 1609-1613 DOI: 10.1126/science.1256484

Early Levallois technology and the Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition in the Southern Caucasus 

D. S. Adler

ABSTRACT The Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition (~400,000 to 200,000 years ago) is marked by technical, behavioral, and anatomical changes among hominin populations throughout Africa and Eurasia. The replacement of bifacial stone tools, such as handaxes, by tools made on flakes detached from Levallois cores documents the most important conceptual shift in stone tool production strategies since the advent of bifacial technology more than one million years earlier and has been argued to result from the expansion of archaic Homo sapiens out of Africa. Our data from Nor Geghi 1, Armenia, record the earliest synchronic use of bifacial and Levallois technology outside Africa and are consistent with the hypothesis that this transition occurred independently within geographically dispersed, technologically precocious hominin populations with a shared technological ancestry.



terryt said...

The absence in coastal West Africa is interesting. Leads to the conclusion that the heavily forested regions may have been uninhabited at all. The Pygmy presence in the jungle region certainly seems to me to post-date any OoA for 'modern' humans. The main conclusion of the paper though is that the technology involved did not actually 'start' in any single region. Another interesting feature is the isolated scattering in East Eurasia. Does that presence indicate later small populations adopting the technology independently or independent development?

andrew said...

For reference, H. Erectus leaves Africa ca. 1,800-1,900 kya. The Archeulian (aka Archeulean) transition might represent H. Heidelbergus, early proto-Neanderthals, or the like.

The absence of the Archeulean past the Movius line noted by Hallan Movius in 1948 and shown in the article illustration has held up over the subsequent 66 years of archaeology, and suggests technological stasis in Asia (until about 65-100 kya) despite progress in the rest of the Old World possibly involving an evolutionary advance in archaic hominins, although there are other explanations.