Raw material economics in their environmental context: an example from the Middle Palaeolithic of southern France
Lucy Wilson, 2011. "Raw material economics in their environmental context: an example from the Middle Palaeolithic of southern France", Human Interactions with the Geosphere: The Geoarchaeological Perspective, L. Wilson
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To understand the human behaviour reflected in stone tool assemblages, we must take into account the characteristics of the lithic resources, their distribution across the landscape, the characteristics of the landscape itself, the distribution of other resources such as water and food, and human strategies of mobility and resource exploitation. The assemblage from one layer of a Middle Palaeolithic rock shelter site, the Bau de l'Aubesier, shows that raw materials from different areas were used in different ways: they are more or less common in the assemblage, and they are more or less likely to have been brought in as raw material and knapped in situ. Various factors may have influenced this pattern. Measures of terrain difficulty and energy expenditure, the raw material quality, and characteristics of the sources are woven together to determine the attractiveness of each source. This is then placed in the context of the geology and geography of the area to distinguish a ‘main’ or core territory from a more extended territory visited during longer trips. The results show the value of taking a geoarchaeological perspective, which sees nature and culture as inextricably intertwined.