9th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster – Torres Navas

Acheulian/mousterian production in Central Iberia

Concepción Torres Navas (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) & Javier Baena Preysler (Campus Cantoblanco – 28049 Madrid)

In contrast with Upper Paleolithic studies, the analysis of skill in the lithic production in the study of Lower and Middle Paleolithic assemblages are scarce. In the majority of the contributions, the deficiencies and errors during these periods are explained as low quality raw material constrains. However, the use of experimental comparison between experimental re-production and the archaeological materials indicate that is quite reasonable to consider
the existence of low technological levels (apprentices) in ancient archaeological productions.

In this contribution, we will present some of the experimental results in relation with the existence of different technical skill levels. For thus we analyse the raw material selection ability, the precision of impact percussion, the adaptation of adequate force in the impact, the employment of precise trajectories, etc. At the same time, we analyse the organization of the different technical behaviours into the global objective. The perception of limitations in the
management of the configuration process, also indicate the existence of different technological skills at this level.

In this regard, we have conducted several controlled experiments to determine whether the ability of multiple knappers with various degrees of experience could be related with the Mousterian and Acheulean assemblages analysed in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. From the experience documented in the palaeolithic Cañaveral and Ahijones (Madrid) workshop sites, and expert knapper could be distinguished from a novice not only for the presence of errors in the lithic material but for the ability to solve those problems. The recognition of failures and errors, the correlation with technical behaviour, the experiments in technical and technological processes, and finally the comparison with the well preserved archaeological samples provided the tools for a preliminary identification of several technological levels within the lithic production in those periods.

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