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Lithic assemblages from the Middle Pleistocene of Iberia: The typology and technology of quartzite artefacts in the Spanish Meseta and Portugal

Moloney, Norah Mary; (1994) Lithic assemblages from the Middle Pleistocene of Iberia: The typology and technology of quartzite artefacts in the Spanish Meseta and Portugal. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

A multitude of different rock types were exploited for the manufacture of stone artefacts during Middle Pleistocene times. However, different rock types, especially non-flint rocks, do not always react in the same manner to artificial fracture and may affect the composition and appearance of stone tool assemblages. In Iberia quartzite pebbles and cobbles were widely exploited for the manufacture of stone tools in those areas where flint was not locally available. This thesis attempts to determine the effect of quartzite pebbles on the technology used by the prehistoric hominids in the manufacture of stone artefacts, and their typological classification by modern prehistorians. Assemblages in quartzite and/or flint from the Spanish Meseta and Central Portugal were used as a basis for the study. The main body of the thesis may be divided into three parts: a typological study, based on literary sources, of eighteen lithic assemblages, a technological study of specific stone artefact categories from four assemblages, and a technological and typological study of a fifth assemblage in its entirety. Results of the study suggest that during the Middle Pleistocene, no aspect of stone tool manufacture was directly controlled or determined by the use of quartzite pebbles, although attributes such as size, shape, grain, hardness and availability of stone may have influenced manufacture at times. The exploitation of quartzite pebbles did not prevent the production of particular tool types, all of which have been found in quartzite assemblages. There appears to be a general similarity among quartzite assemblages expressed in the presence of cortex, simple retouch techniques, a flake tool inventory dominated by scrapers, denticulates, notches and piercers, and a tendency for the heavy duty element (unifaces/bifaces, flake cleavers, trihedrals and pebble tools) to be well represented. While the use of quartzite pebbles may contribute to this similarity they are not the source.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Lithic assemblages from the Middle Pleistocene of Iberia: The typology and technology of quartzite artefacts in the Spanish Meseta and Portugal
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Earth sciences; Quartzite
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101021
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