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Using Bones to Shape Stones: MIS 9 Bone Retouchers at Both Edges of the Mediterranean Sea

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076780
  • Research Article


A significant challenge in Prehistory is to understand the mechanisms involved in the behavioural evolution of human groups. The degree of technological and cultural development of prehistoric groups is assessed mainly through stone tools. However, other elements can provide valuable information as well. This paper presents two bone retouchers dated to the Middle Pleistocene MIS 9 used for the shaping of lithic artefacts. Originating from Bolomor Cave (Spain) and Qesem Cave (Israel), these two bone retouchers are among the earliest of the Old World. Although the emergence of such tools might be found in the latest phases of the Acheulean, their widespread use seems to coincide with independently emergent post-Acheulean cultural complexes at both ends of the Mediterranean Sea: the post-Acheulean/pre-Mousterian of Western Europe and the Acheulo Yabrudian Cultural Complex of the Levant. Both entities seem to reflect convergent processes that may be viewed in a wider cultural context as reflecting new technology-related behavioural patterns as well as new perceptions in stone tool manufacturing.

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