Did the CI volcanic eruption play a role in the transition from the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic?

Horizons of volcanic tephra were repeatedly deposited across Mediterranean and Eastern Europe throughout the Pleistocene, providing a distinct chronological marker. One of these main tephra events, the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI), took place around the time of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition. Its influence on Neanderthal and early modern human populations and cultural changes has…

A (re)touchy subject: Using bone to shape stone during the Middle Palaeolithic

The use of organic materials, such as bone, wood and antler, has been identified throughout various Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic contexts. Through detailed archaeological investigations and experimental approaches it is has been demonstrated that these objects were frequently used to shape and retouch lithic artefacts. New research published in Quaternary International provides the first…

Chronological and cultural patterns among British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic artefacts

The presence of cultural patterns among artefact types has been a key topic among Palaeolithic archaeologists. Schemes based on typology and linear progression are now generally abandoned, in favor of process-driven explanations, incorporating raw material, tool use and resharpening. This is also the case for the British record, where especially river gravels have delivered a…

House proud Neanderthals? A critical note.

Research regarding Neanderthal groups in Italy has been making the headlines with claims for structured organisation of space. Such organisation has previously been argued to be a trait that only modern humans, i.e. us, were capable or willing to do. Thus, if these new findings are to be taken seriously then it is another point…