The oldest handaxe industry in northwest Europe?

The earliest occupation of Europe is generally seen as having had two main phases. The first one relates to sites with simple core and flake assemblages (Mode 1) with no handaxes or other bifacial technologies (e.g. Pakefield, Orce, Pirro-Nord). The second phase relates to the spread of the Acheulean handaxe technology, seen as having reached…

Varying levels of skill in biface production at Boxgrove?

New research, by Stout et al in the Journal of Archaeological Science, is seeking to challenge the idea of conservatism within the Acheulean. The authors focus exclusively on the large handaxe record from the British Lower Palaeolithic site of Boxgrove. They utilise experimental knappers with varying levels of experience (expert, novice, inexperienced) and compare their…

Technological trends in the South African MSA?

Sarah Wurz gives an excellent overview of the technological diversity in the South African MSA in the latest issue of Current Anthropology. She provides a detailed account of the archaeological record, starting with the badly understood transition between the ESA and MSA (e.g. the Fauresmith industry) estimated to have occurred between 500 and 280ka BP.…