Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Lithic Technology, Paleolithic

  • Michael Chazan
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_651


Paleolithic stone tool technology extends over a period of close to 2.5 Ma and provides a unique dataset for the study of early hominin behavior. While it is safe to assume that technologies involving organic materials played a critical role in the adaptation and society of early humans, these materials rarely survive so archaeologists are forced to pull as much information as is possible from the study of lithic assemblages.

Historical Background

Archaeologists working in Eurasia tend to structure the Paleolithic into the Lower, Middle, and Upper Paleolithic, while Africanists use the terminology of Early, Middle, and Late Stone Age. There are a multitude of regional level subdivisions of these periods. Transitional industries – such as the Chatelperronian, which is found at the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Western Europe, or the Fauresmith, which is associated with the transition from the Early to Middle Stone Age in Southern Africa – are often the focus of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada