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Neandertal Lithic Industries at La Quina

Arthur J. Jelinek

Publication Year: 2013

Although Neandertals lived in Europe and western Asia for more than 200,000 years, we know surprisingly little about them or about their everyday lives. Evidence of their behavior is largely derived from the surviving pieces of chipped stone and animal bone that resulted from their activities. One of the largest concentrations of stone and bone artifacts left by Neandertals was at the famous archaeological site of La Quina in southwestern France.
This study of the significance of changes through time revealed by an analysis of the chipped stone at La Quina reports on the excavations of the Cooperative American–French Excavation Project from 1985 to 1994. It moves beyond the largely descriptive and subjective approaches that have traditionally been applied to this kind of evidence and applies several important quantitative analytical techniques. These new approaches incorporate the history of previous excavations at the site, the results of the work of the Cooperative Project, and the most recent scientific understanding of relevant climatic changes.
This is a major contribution to our understanding of Neandertal behavior and industry. It adds new dimensions and perspectives based on innovative techniques of analysis. The analytic methods applied to lithic artifacts that form the heart of the book are the product of considerations about how to best interpret a sequence of  multiple contextual samples. The author concludes the book with an extraordinarily useful chapter that places his findings into the larger context of our contemporary knowledge of Neandertal life in the region.
The book comes with a compact disc, which includes coded observations used in the analysis in as many as 47 data fields for the more than 11,500 artifacts that will allow professionals and students to further explore the collection of lithic artifacts.

Although Neandertals lived in Europe and western Asia for more than 200,000 years, we know surprisingly little about them or about their everyday lives. Evidence of their behavior is largely derived from the surviving pieces of chipped stone and animal bone that resulted from their activities. One of the largest concentrations of stone and bone artifacts left by Neandertals was at the famous archaeological site of La Quina in southwestern France.
This study of the significance of changes through time revealed by an analysis of the chipped stone at La Quina reports on the excavations of the Cooperative American–French Excavation Project from 1985 to 1994. It moves beyond the largely descriptive and subjective approaches that have traditionally been applied to this kind of evidence and applies several important quantitative analytical techniques. These new approaches incorporate the history of previous excavations at the site, the results of the work of the Cooperative Project, and the most recent scientific understanding of relevant climatic changes.
This is a major contribution to our understanding of Neandertal behavior and industry. It adds new dimensions and perspectives based on innovative techniques of analysis. The analytic methods applied to lithic artifacts that form the heart of the book are the product of considerations about how to best interpret a sequence of  multiple contextual samples. The author concludes the book with an extraordinarily useful chapter that places his findings into the larger context of our contemporary knowledge of Neandertal life in the region.
The book comes with a compact disc, which includes coded observations used in the analysis in as many as 47 data fields for the more than 11,500 artifacts that will allow professionals and students to further explore the collection of lithic artifacts.

Published by: University of Arizona Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-ix

Figures

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pp. xi-xv

Tables

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pp. xvii-xix

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Preface

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pp. xxi-23

This study had its inception in a conversation with the late Dr. Henri Delporte on the afternoon of June 20, 1983. I had written to Delporte, who was then conservateur of paleolithic archaeology at the Musée des Antiquités Nationales at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and whom I had met...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxiii-xxv

During the period from the inception of the American-French Cooperative Excavation Project at La Quina to the conclusion of the recording of materials before the collections were removed from the L’Aubertie field station, the project received generous material and personal support...

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1. An Archaeological History and Early Interpretations of La Quina

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pp. 1-44

The Middle Paleolithic site of La Quina lies at the base of a northwest-facing steeply stepped rise of cliffs in the Coniacien (lower Cretaceous) limestone on the southeast edge of the drainage of the small Voultron River about 1.5...

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2. The Development and Structure of the Cooperative Excavation Project

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pp. 45-61

A new phase of French-American cooperative work at the La Quina station amont had its inception in a discussion between Dr. Henri Delporte, then conservateur of prehistoric archaeology at the Musée des Antiquités Nationales at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and me early on the afternoon...

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3. The Lithic Sample: Nature and Classification Background

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pp. 62-72

Lithic artifacts from the station amont at La Quina have attracted the attention of professional prehistorians and amateur collectors since the late nineteenth century. A major focus of this interest has been on the large and symmetrically retouched racloirs that were present in great...

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4. The Chronological and Paleoenvironmental Setting of the Prehistoric Sequence at the Station Amont

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pp. 73-92

An understanding of the natural habitat and the chronological position of the succession of events that contributed to the archaeological and paleontological record at the Station Amont is essential for a culturally meaningful...

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5. A Matter of Form: Typological Aspects of the Lithic Industries

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pp. 93-122

The artifacts that comprise prehistoric lithic industries were the products of a relatively simple set of human activities that began with the procurement of suitable material, followed by the reduction of that material through...

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6. A Matter of Quality and Quantity: Lithic Reduction Products and Materials at La Quina

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pp. 123-160

In the most fundamental sense, this study of the lithic artifacts from the station amont at La Quina is concerned with the form in which material reached the site and the various processes that contributed to its condition at the...

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7. A Matter of Time

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pp. 161-207

This chapter and the next present a study of the variation in the basic components of the lithic industries discussed in Chapter 6 through the stratigraphic sequence sampled by the excavation. The temporal study is divided into two...

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8. A Synthesis of the Prehistoric Sequence at La Quina

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pp. 208-328

A perspective on the nature of the full section tested by the excavation and the context of each bed in the stratigraphic succession is provided by Figure 8.1. In this chapter, the beds are discussed in sequence, beginning with...

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9. In Perspective

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pp. 329-334

The evidence of a sequence of Middle Paleolithic industries summarized in Chapter 8 consists of a succession of stratigraphically separated samples of lithic reduction products, each of which has distinct proportions of pieces...

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Epilogue

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pp. 335-336

Some of the information derived from this study of the Middle Paleolithic industries at the station amont of La Quina could serve to stimulate further research that will include aspects of variability that have previously been...

Appendix A. Coding of the Lithic Database for the La Quina Analysis

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pp. 337-341

Appendix B. Data Tables

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pp. 342-401

Appendix C. Field Personnel by Season and Contributing Specialists

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pp. 402-403

References

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pp. 405-412

Index

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pp. 413-419

About the Author

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pp. 421-450


E-ISBN-13: 9780816599882
E-ISBN-10: 0816599882
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816522460
Print-ISBN-10: 0816522464

Page Count: 449
Illustrations: 80 photos, 147 illust., 154 tables, 1 CD
Publication Year: 2013

Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • La Quina Site (France).
  • Neanderthals -- France -- Charente.
  • Mousterian culture -- France -- Charente.
  • Stone implements -- France -- Charente.
  • Tools, Prehistoric -- France -- Charente.
  • Charente (France) -- Antiquities.
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