Rolling stones: Understanding river-rolled Paleolithic artifact assemblages
Published:April 01, 2011
Robert T. Hosfield, 2011. "Rolling stones: Understanding river-rolled Paleolithic artifact assemblages", Geoarchaeology, Climate Change, and Sustainability, Antony G. Brown, Laura S. Basell, Karl W. Butzer
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Key geoarchaeological factors are explored with reference to the formation and potential preservation and/or loss of early Paleolithic artifact assemblages within Pleistocene fluvial deposits. The importance of these assemblages concerns the uniquely long-term perspectives that they offer to the study of early hominin occupation histories and landscape use. The factors explored (river type, bedrock type, the chronology and cycles of fluvial activity, and confluence activity) build upon the previous work of D.R. Bridgland, and A.J. Howard and M.G. Macklin with regard to terrace formation, preservation, and other fluvial activity. Particular emphasis is placed upon short-term fluvial activity (the context for assemblage formation) and the long-term potential for preservation and erosion of fluvial terraces and their archaeological contents. Case study examples are presented for the Solent River and the River Axe on the British south coast, exploring geoarchaeological issues within the context of understanding assemblage taphonomy and hominin behavior at local and regional scales. The paper concludes by assessing the potential and limitations of the approaches outlined.