Transformations of Upper Palaeolithic Implements in the Dabba Industry from Haua Fteah (Libya)

By Hiscock, Peter | Antiquity, September 1996 | Go to article overview

Transformations of Upper Palaeolithic Implements in the Dabba Industry from Haua Fteah (Libya)


Hiscock, Peter, Antiquity


Different models of stone-working technology in the Upper Palaeolithic are tested by examining an assemblage from Haua Fteah, on the Libyan coast of north Africa. Evidence that some scrapers have been reworked into burins, while some burins were modified to form scrapers, show how this typically Upper Palaeolithic industry contains morphological transformations between types. This evidence is consistent with a technological continuity from the Middle Palaeolithic.

Introduction

Ongoing debate about the characterization of the Middle Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic transition often involves opposing claims about the level of continuity or discontinuity displayed in artefact assemblages. Perhaps the most common position is that the transition is marked by increased diversity and standardization of formal implements (see Mellars 1989: 365; Binford 1989: 36). Since the demonstration by Dibble (1984; 1987) that a significant portion of assemblage variability in the Middle Palaeolithic is explicable as morphological transformations of one implement 'type' into another as reduction proceeds, many analysts have used this as a key contrast to the inferred technological structure of Upper Palaeolithic assemblages. Upper Palaeolithic formal implement types have often been seen as being unambiguously defined, functionally specific, and representing the end-product of a sequence of reduction. For example, describing what he calls an 'unstructured feature' of Mousterian behaviour, Marcel Otte (1990: 443) claimed that

These are revealed, for example, in the typology of Mousterian tools, where the tool types are not clearly defined and where one type seems to grade almost imperceptibly into another (Dibble 1988). Seemingly, there is no clear tool standardisation in the Mousterian. Recurrent forms do not appear to correspond to a final stage in the reduction sequence (as in the Upper Palaeolithic) but rather to represent various stages of discard, during repeated phases of reworking or re-sharpening of the tools (Cahen 1985).

Perception of dramatically different technological patterns in the two periods has been used in the formulation of models that posit a rapid development of more complex cultural activity. Depiction of Upper Palaeolithic implements as rigidly defined end products has often been seen as a reflection of modern cognitive patterns. The implications of perceived contrasts in assemblage structure are variously phrased; while Binford (1989: 19) talks in terms of 'planning depth', others relate the variety of specifically designed implements made and used to the presence and complexity of mental typologies. For example, Mellars (1989: 365) characterizes the situation as follows:

The forms of these distinctively Upper Palaeolithic tools appear to show not only a higher degree of 'standardization' than those characteristic of the earlier Middle Palaeolithic industries (see Dibble 1987; 1989; Isaac 1972) but also a more obvious degree of 'imposed form' in the various stages of their production and shaping. In other words, the shapes of the tools not only are more sharply defined but also appear to reflect more clearly conceived 'mental templates' underlying their production.

This depiction of the transition between Middle Palaeolithic and Upper Palaeolithic has not gone unchallenged. Dissenting opinion holds the transition begins within the Middle Palaeolithic and that the initiation of different organizational structures can be perceived in Middle Palaeolithic assemblages (e.g. Lindly & Clark 1990: 61; Marshack 1990: 469; Reynolds 1990: 273). It appears that this perception is often based on technological analyses, which are more sensitive to change than are implement typologies. Differing depictions of assemblage structure, based on whether a technological or typological perspective is applied to the analysis, suggest another challenge. While the Middle Palaeolithic has been redescribed from a technological viewpoint, by Dibble and others, Upper Palaeolithic assemblages often retain a more strictly typological description. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Transformations of Upper Palaeolithic Implements in the Dabba Industry from Haua Fteah (Libya)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.