Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Dr. Anna Marie Prentiss

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Anthropology

Abstract

The People and the Handaxe: A Look at Acheulean Tool Manufacture

Anthropology

The Acheulean tradition is one of the most refined stone tool technologies in human prehistory. It also represents the second oldest tool making tradition in the history of early humans. Following the Oldowan, evidence of the Acheulean is found across much of Africa, Asia, and Europe. The Acheulean tradition is represented by symmetrical handaxes that were used for the butchering and processing of animals along with a variety of other tools including scrapers on flakes. While we know little about the socio-economic organization of the hominins responsible for the Acheulean tradition, stone tools, faunal remains, and site contexts have provided insights into their lives.

Much is still unknown about the production and use of these tools, and even less is known about the people themselves, including linguistic capabilities and cultural traditions. This presentation makes use of processual-plus theoretical perspectives, to address the manufacture of Acheulean handaxes in order to derive insights into Acheulean ways of life with a particular focus on land-use patterns in North Africa.

The landscape of the Sahara has shifted dramatically throughout the geologic time. Knowing how humidity levels have changed the grazing patterns of herbivores in the region can help us understand the hunting patterns of hominins, specifically the populations associated with the Acheulean. Seeing their relationships with herbivores and the landscape, we can address the role of hunting in Acheulean subsistence economies. One approach to this problem is to examine relationships between the projected geo-spatial positions of ecological productive patches and concentrations of Acheulian cultural materials.

Category

Humanities

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The People and the Handaxe: A Look at Acheulean Tool Manufacture

The People and the Handaxe: A Look at Acheulean Tool Manufacture

Anthropology

The Acheulean tradition is one of the most refined stone tool technologies in human prehistory. It also represents the second oldest tool making tradition in the history of early humans. Following the Oldowan, evidence of the Acheulean is found across much of Africa, Asia, and Europe. The Acheulean tradition is represented by symmetrical handaxes that were used for the butchering and processing of animals along with a variety of other tools including scrapers on flakes. While we know little about the socio-economic organization of the hominins responsible for the Acheulean tradition, stone tools, faunal remains, and site contexts have provided insights into their lives.

Much is still unknown about the production and use of these tools, and even less is known about the people themselves, including linguistic capabilities and cultural traditions. This presentation makes use of processual-plus theoretical perspectives, to address the manufacture of Acheulean handaxes in order to derive insights into Acheulean ways of life with a particular focus on land-use patterns in North Africa.

The landscape of the Sahara has shifted dramatically throughout the geologic time. Knowing how humidity levels have changed the grazing patterns of herbivores in the region can help us understand the hunting patterns of hominins, specifically the populations associated with the Acheulean. Seeing their relationships with herbivores and the landscape, we can address the role of hunting in Acheulean subsistence economies. One approach to this problem is to examine relationships between the projected geo-spatial positions of ecological productive patches and concentrations of Acheulian cultural materials.