Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Phylogenetics are useful for modeling cultural evolutionary relationships between taxa and can be used to reveal patterns of change reflected in the archaeological record. Lithic technology represents an ideal subject for phylogenetic analyses of culture because of its ubiquitous use in hunter-gatherer and early hominin populations, its ecological and memetic malleability, and the vast literature regarding the roughly 3.3 million-year-old lithic archaeological record. The Lower Paleolithic (~3.3-0.6 Ma) archaeological record provides important insight into early hominin evolution and behavior regarding landscape use, migration, and cognitive complexity. Although Lower Paleolithic stone-tools are less morphologically diverse than subsequent technologies, a considerable amount of measurable variation can be found within and between Lower Paleolithic assemblages. There have been relatively few attempts to phylogenetically model Lower Paleolithic technologies, and in the case of Oldowan (Mode 1) core-tools there have been no issued attempts. The core-tool component of the Oldowan Technological Complex represents one of the best targets for measuring behavioral variation in stone-tool production and cultural evolutionary relationships over the 800,000 year period (2.6-1.8 Ma) of the Lower Pleistocene before the advent of the Acheulean technological complex. This poster presents the results of a phylogenetic analysis which models data from fifteen (15) Mode 1 stone-tool assemblages from Africa and Eurasia. These preliminary results illustrate a low level of homoplasy and show that Oldowan core-tools from discrete assemblages can act as meaningful taxa in phylogenetic analyses. This poster also highlights several issues with phylogenetically modeling Lower Paleolithic technology and suggests future ways to improve upon this by including the use of more complex Lower Paleolithic typological systems, and the creation of a comprehensive, organized and universally available Lower Paleolithic information database.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 11:00 AM Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Cladistically modeling Oldowan Assemblages: Preliminary insights and issues

Phylogenetics are useful for modeling cultural evolutionary relationships between taxa and can be used to reveal patterns of change reflected in the archaeological record. Lithic technology represents an ideal subject for phylogenetic analyses of culture because of its ubiquitous use in hunter-gatherer and early hominin populations, its ecological and memetic malleability, and the vast literature regarding the roughly 3.3 million-year-old lithic archaeological record. The Lower Paleolithic (~3.3-0.6 Ma) archaeological record provides important insight into early hominin evolution and behavior regarding landscape use, migration, and cognitive complexity. Although Lower Paleolithic stone-tools are less morphologically diverse than subsequent technologies, a considerable amount of measurable variation can be found within and between Lower Paleolithic assemblages. There have been relatively few attempts to phylogenetically model Lower Paleolithic technologies, and in the case of Oldowan (Mode 1) core-tools there have been no issued attempts. The core-tool component of the Oldowan Technological Complex represents one of the best targets for measuring behavioral variation in stone-tool production and cultural evolutionary relationships over the 800,000 year period (2.6-1.8 Ma) of the Lower Pleistocene before the advent of the Acheulean technological complex. This poster presents the results of a phylogenetic analysis which models data from fifteen (15) Mode 1 stone-tool assemblages from Africa and Eurasia. These preliminary results illustrate a low level of homoplasy and show that Oldowan core-tools from discrete assemblages can act as meaningful taxa in phylogenetic analyses. This poster also highlights several issues with phylogenetically modeling Lower Paleolithic technology and suggests future ways to improve upon this by including the use of more complex Lower Paleolithic typological systems, and the creation of a comprehensive, organized and universally available Lower Paleolithic information database.