Universiteit Leiden

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Beyond the caves

The central question of this thesis is: What drives late Middle Paleolithic stone artifact variability? In its attempt to answer this question, this thesis is a contribution to understanding variability within and between late Middle Paleolithic assemblages of the European Plain.

Marcel Weiss
17 January 2019
The publication in Open Access

The selected research area is rich in late Middle Paleolithic open-air sites but up to now lacking detailed quantitative comparisons between them. This thesis uses standardized, more quantitative methods to analyze stone tool variability across techno-complexes. Stone artifact assemblages where analyzed based on a detailed attribute analysis and compared using multivariate methods, like Principal Component Analysis and Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling.

Additionally, methods from 3D geometric morphometrics where applied for the analysis of some individual tool types. The central finding of the studies presented in this thesis is that most of the variability observed in the record is not related to typo-technological classification, and it is not necessarily site-specific nor geographical. The variability can be related to raw materials, but it can also be related to the varying application of similar methods in blank and tool production. The analyses of individual tools suggest further that certain tool concepts, like the bifacial Keilmesser are not restricted to bifacial tools only.

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