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ANTH 347
Michael Bisson

ANTH347PaleolithicCulturesNotesLECTURE 12 A VICTIM OF HISTORYThe ghosts of Edouard Lartet and other pioneering Paleolithic archaeologists still haunt European prehistoryGreek philosophers speculated about prehistory but from the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire the Book of Genesis dominated thought about human origins in the West1797John Frere finds handaxes with hippo bones at Hoxne southern EnglandGeologist James Hutton writes Theory of the Earth in 1785first statement of uniformitarian theoryWilliam Smiths Strata Identified by Organized Fossils 1816 establishes the basics of relative datingWith the publication of Principles of Geology 3 volumes 18301833 by Charles Lyell old Earth theory becomes the majority opinion of scientists by the 1850sEarly excavations include Father John MacEnerys work 18241841 at Kents Cavern Exeter UKFirst Neanderthal was discovered at Gibraltar in 1848 but went unrecognized because of the dominance of French Paleontologist Georges Cuvier who was a Catastrophist Beginning in 1837 Jacques Boucher de Perthes collects handaxes in the Somme River Gravels Northern FranceIn 1854 a Dr Rigollot collects more handaxes in a gravel pit at St AcheulBritish archaeologists John Evans Joseph Prestwich and Hugh Falconer authenticate these finds it 1859The Origin of Species by Darwin revolutionizes biology in the same yearOrigin stimulated the development of cultural evolutionary theory that structured their interpretation of the archaeological recordExpanding on C J Thomsens 3Age System the initial concern in France was subdividing the Stone AgeFirst attempts were technologicaloChipped Stone Period aka PaleolithicoPolished Stone Period aka NeolithicEdouard Lartet was the first to subdivide the Paleolithic and the first to recognize the Upper Paleolithic as a separate technological tradition 1860 Excavated Aurignac rockshelter in the Pyrenees and found bone sculptures18631871 excavated in the DordogneVezre valleys at almost all of the famous sitesIn 1868 his son Louis Lartet discovers the famous Cro Magnon skeletons near Les EyziesLartet was trained in paleontology so he used fauna to define has periods which he changed frequentlyHis best known sequence isPeriodTypical HabitationSites3ReindeerCavesLaugerie Basse La Madeleine2Cave BearMammothOpenAir and CavesLe Moustier1Hippowarm ElephantOpenAirSt AcheulAbbevilleThis is roughly equivalent to the Lower MiddleUpper PaleolithicLartets student Gabriel de Mortillet substituted site namestypical artifacts for Lartets faunal succession He specifically considered these to represent time periods NOT cultures in the anthropological sense6Robenhausien Neolithic5Magdalenian4Solutrean3Mousterian2Chellean Handaxes1Thenasian Now known to be eolithicThe next 50 years of European archaeology was spent trying to refine andor elaborate this and other chronological frameworksThis is fundamentally a paleontological and biological orientationAssemblages served as marker fossils to identify a sequence of distinct evolutionary time periodsAt this time 18701910 anthropological theory was dominated by TylorMorgans cultural evolutionary theory which emphasized the Law of Human ProgressThis implied that all societies would pass through the same sequence of evolutionary stagesIn the early 20th Century the Abbe Henri Breuil began the shift to interpreting assemblage types as the remains of cultures rather than just fixed evolutionary stagesBreuils contributions1Major discoveries of cave art Font de GaumeLes Combarelles2Replaced the Chellean with the Abbevillian Early L P and Acheulian Late L PoWhen he realized that clearly different assemblage types from Eastern Europe were contemporary with the French material he began to see them as cultures in the anthropological senseoIn the West he identified 3 cultural groups of Lower Pal Flake dominated industries Clactonian LevalloisianTayacian3Reorganized the Upper Paleolithic into a single sequence of from earliest to latest Paper published in 1912ChatelperronianAurignacianGravettianSolutreanMagdalenianoDenis Peyrony disagreed and argued that the Chatelperronian and Gravettian were a single evolving Culture that he called the Perigordian and that this was contemporary with the AurignacianAlthough Peyrony paid lipservice to the cultural interpretation he was mainly interested in chronology and divided all these periods into numerous phases given roman numerals
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