The Early Middle Palaeolithic of Britain : origins, technology and landscape
This thesis examines technological behaviour during the early British Middle Palaeolithic (Late OIS 9-7), as reflected by lithic artefacts. The British data-set, whilst containing few high-resolution sites providing information relevant to ethnographic-scale behavioural reconstruction, actually forms a valuable corpus of well-contextualised locales within a tightly constrained chronostratigraphic framework. Lithic artefacts from these sites can be used to address broader questions concerning the emergence and nature of particular "Middle Palaeolithic" behaviours; specifically, the emergence of, and variability within, Levallois technology in Britain, and increasing complexity in the organisation of technology in the landscape. The assemblages analysed in this thesis comprise the nine best-preserved British sites dated to this period, which can be placed within secure chronological, geographical and ecological contexts. Whilst previous surveys have emphasised the typological composition of such assemblages, this thesis considers the specific technological behaviours evident at particular locales, in terms of which stages of lithic reduction are represented, what specific Levallois preparatory and exploitation strategies were applied, and how the choices between such options are explicable. On this basis, it is possible to discuss the development of a technologically complex treatment of particular places in the landscape during the early Middle Palaeolithic, linked to the increased transport and curation of particular Levallois products. Whilst on a European scale, such patterns are seen as typical of the Middle Palaeolithic but are essentially undated; this study shows that such behaviours are apparent from at least OIS 8 onwards in Britain, with concomitant implications for our understanding of developing Middle Palaeolithic behaviours in Europe.