Late Acheulean technology and cognition at Boxgrove, UK
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The Acheulean industrial complex combines technological variability with continuity on a scale unparalleled by more recent industries. Acheulean variability includes a widely recognized increase in biface refinement from the Early to Late Acheulean, however the specific timing and technological nature of this shift remain unclear as do its behavioral, cognitive, and evolutionary implications. To investigate this topic, we examined lithic collections from the early Middle Pleistocene Acheulean site of Boxgrove for evidence of the use of platform preparation as a biface thinning technique. To aid in the identification and assessment of platform preparation, Boxgrove artifacts were compared with experimental products of Inexperienced, Novice, and Expert stone knappers. Results demonstrate the technologically efficacious use of platform preparation among the Boxgrove toolmakers similar to 500 thousand years ago, providing the first direct evidence of this technique in the Ache-tile-an. The use of platform preparation in bifacial thinning increases the complexity of toolmaking action sequences and has implications for understanding the neurocognitive substrates, social transmission, and spatiotemporal distribution of Late Acheulean technology. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.