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The Clactonian: British Lower Palaeolithic flint technology in biface and non-biface assemblages.

McNabb, John; (1992) The Clactonian: British Lower Palaeolithic flint technology in biface and non-biface assemblages. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Traditionally the British Lower Palaeolithic is divided into two major cultural/industrial traditions, a simplistic non-biface assemblage type known as the Clactonian, and a technologically more sophisticated biface assemblage type known as the Acheulian. Technological analysis clearly demonstrates a previously unrecognised parity between the core reduction strategies present in biface and non-biface assemblages. This conclusion is supported in the failure to identify a real difference between the hard hammer flake elements in either type of assemblage. Furthermore, the pattern c7 retouch present in all non-biface assemblages is present in all biface assemblages. This also extends to the previously undescribed retouch category termed 'flaked flake'. The only exception to this is the lack of morphologically regular scrapers in non-biface assemblages. However, it is demonstrated that this is only a reflection of which non-biface assemblages were, traditionally chosen for study. Technological analysis further demonstrated that variability was a hallmark of all the eleven assemblages studied. This was present between assemblages within the same assemblage type, and, to a lesser extent, between the two assemblage types themselves. Variability even extended to the frequency of occurrence of bifaces. This factor, when taken in conjunction with the technological parity noted in the core, flake, and retouch elements of all the assemblages studied, invalidated the concept of a distinct non-biface assemblage type. Assemblages lacking in bifaces do exist, but they are few in number, and they can not be used to sustain or justify this concept. Those other non-biface assemblages, traditionally labelled Clactonian, can be seen as collections of derived cores and flakes. They are merely manifestations of a common technological foundation, present to some extent, in all Lower Palaeolithic assemblages. The concept of the Clactonian was generated and maintained by adherence to typological analysis, and to the powerful influence of mental templates reinforcing traditional frameworks of interpretation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Clactonian: British Lower Palaeolithic flint technology in biface and non-biface assemblages.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116040
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