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Title: The Quartzite Palaeolithic of Germany : new approaches to the study of Late Middle Pleistocene lithic technology
Author: Sternke, Farina
ISNI:       0000 0001 3481 5118
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2005
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The study of non-flint raw materials is a neglected subject within Palaeolithic research. This thesis focuses on the study of non-flint raw material use in the Middle Palaeolithic in Europe in order to explore the social and economic relationship between late Middle Pleistocene hominids and their choice of lithic raw materials. The current approaches to the study of lithic production in the Middle Pleistocene are critiqued and the current assumptions associated with the study of lithic production in the late Middle Pleistocene, in particular in relation to raw material use and transport, are tested. The Quartzite Palaeolithic of Germany serves as a regional case study for the exploration of the relationship between hominids and their choice of lithic raw materials. The use of quartzite at four Middle Palaeolithic sites in two regions, which are divided by a differential distribution of flint as a result of glacial conditions, are examined. I focus on the study of quartzite in these four lithic assemblages through time and within geographical and social space. By demonstrating that quartzite was differentially exploited throughout prehistory in the two study regions and exploring the reasons for the absence of flint at these sites, I recognize the importance of preference versus necessity in Middle Palaeolithic raw material use and discuss it in relation to mobility and the hominid network in the study areas. This is achieved through the use of a new model of lithic production based on the notion of technological choice. This approach results in a new interpretation of Late Middle Pleistocene hominid behaviour in relation to mobility and lithic raw material procurement. I argue that the preference for a particular raw material, although conditioned by a number of environmental, technological and network constraints, is rooted in social rather than functional / technological grounds. I thereby reject concepts of environmental determinism and rational economic models focused on simple behavioural efficiency and stress the importance of the underlying social behaviour of Middle Pleistocene hominids.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available