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PLoS One. 2014 Sep 5;9(9):e106293. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106293. eCollection 2014.

Predetermined flake production at the Lower/Middle Paleolithic boundary: Yabrudian scraper-blank technology.

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Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States of America.


While predetermined débitage technologies are recognized beginning with the middle Acheulian, the Middle Paleolithic is usually associated with a sharp increase in their use. A study of scraper-blank technology from three Yabrudian assemblages retrieved from the early part of the Acheulo-Yabrudian complex of Tabun Cave (ca. 415-320 kyr) demonstrates a calculated and preplanned production, even if it does not show the same complexity and elaboration as in the Levallois technology. These scraper dominated assemblages show an organization of production based on an intensive use of predetermination blank technology already in place at the end of the Lower Paleolithic of the Levant. These results provide a novel perspective on the differences and similarities between the Lower and Middle Paleolithic industries. We suggest that there was a change in the paradigm in the way hominins exploited stone tools: in many Middle Paleolithic assemblages the potential of the stone tools for hafting was a central feature, in the Lower Paleolithic ergonometric considerations of manual prehension were central to the design of blanks and tools.

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