Standing Committee on Archaeology: "Units of Analysis in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition in Central Europe"


Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Tozzer Anthropology Building Rm. 203, 21 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA

A Talk by Gilbert Tsotevin, University of Minnesota

The Middle Danube Basin of Central Europe plays a critical role in understanding the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition due to its position as one of the major riverine and environmental corridors by which anatomically modern humans entered a Neanderthal-occupied Europe. Central Europe, however, is noticeably different from Western Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, with its greater diversity of industrial types, i.e., two “transitional” industries (the Bohunician and the Szeletian) rather than one, as with the Châtelperronian in France and the Uluzzian in Italy. Recent research suggests that there is even greater variation at the MP-UP transition in the region that has been obscured by the traditional approach to Paleolithic systematics (retouch tools as director fossils). This presentation will explore new research directions in the method and theory of lithic technology, the units of Paleolithic systematics, and how a microarchaeological approach to the analysis of a new EUP site, Tvarožná-Za školou, in the Czech Republic has been designed to clarify these problems.