(View exact match)AbbevillianSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Abbevillean, Chellean, Abbeville
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: The name for the period of the earliest handax industries of Europe, taken from Abbeville, the type site near the mouth of the River Somme in northern France. The site is a gravel pit in which crudely chipped oval or pear-shaped handaxes were discovered, probably dating to the Mindel Glaciation. This was one of the key places which showed that man was of great antiquity. Starting in 1836, Boucher de Perthes excavated the pits and the significance of these discoveries was recognized around 1859. These pits became one of the richest sources of Palaeolithic tools in Europe. In 1939, Abbé Breuil proposed the name Abbevillian for both the handax and the industry, which preceded the Acheulian in Europe.
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AcheulianSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Acheulean, Acheulian industry
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: A European culture of the Lower Palaeolithic period named for Saint-Acheul, a town in northern France, the site of numerous stone artifacts from the period. The conventional borderline between Abbevillian and Acheulian is marked by a technological innovation in the working of stone implements, the use of a flaking tool of soft material (wood, bone, antler) in place of a hammerstone. This culture is noted for its hefty multipurpose, pointed (or almond-shaped) hand axes, flat-edged cleaving tools, and other bifacial stone tools with multiple cutting edges. The Acheulian flourished in Africa, western Europe, and southern Asia from over a million years ago until less than 100,000 and is commonly associated with Homo erectus. This progressive tool industry was the first to use regular bifacial flaking. The term Epoque de St Acheul was introduced by Gabriel de Mortillet in 1872 and is still used occasionally, but after 1925 the idea of epochs began to be supplanted by that of cultures and traditions and it is in this sense that the term Acheulian is more often used today. The earliest assemblages are often rather similar to the Oldowan at such sites as Olduvai Gorge. Subsequent hand-ax assemblages are found over most of Africa, southern Asia and western and southern Europe. The earliest appearance of hand axes in Europe is still refereed to by some workers as Abbevillian, denoting a stage when hand axes were still made with crude, irregular devices. The type site, near Amiens in the Somme Valley contained large hand ax assemblages from around the time of the penultimate interglacial and the succeeding glacial period (Riss), perhaps some 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. Acheulian hand axes are still found around the time of the last interglacial period, and hand axes are common in one part of the succeeding Mousterian period (the Mousterian of Acheulian tradition) down to as recently as 40,000 years ago. Acheulian is also used to describe the period when this culture existed. In African terminology, the entire series of hand ax industries is called Acheulian, and the earlier phases of the African Acheulian equate with the Abbevillian of Europe.ChelleanSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chellian
DEFINITION: An early Stone Age industry (Lower Palaeolithic) characterized by crudely worked hand axes. The implements from the type site Chelles-sur-Marne, near Paris, France, that gave the industry its name are now grouped with the Acheulian industry. The term Chellean, in the sense of earliest hand-ax culture, has been replaced by Abbevillian industry. The industry was so-named in the 1880s, replacing the term Acheulian, which was eventually reinstated.PaleolithicSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Palaeolithic, Old Stone Age
CATEGORY: artifact, chronology
DEFINITION: The more technical name for the Old Stone Age, a division of prehistory covering the time from the first use of stone tools by humans, c 2.5 million years ago, to the retreat of the glacial ice in the northern hemisphere c 10,000-8500 BC. It began in the Pliocene epoch and was followed by the Mesolithic. It is the Old World equivalent, although with a much greater extension back in time, of the paleo-Indian or Early Lithic stage of New World development. The Paleolithic was characterized by the making of chipped or flaked stone tools and weapons and by a hunting and food-gathering way of life. It is usually divided into Lower, Middle, and Upper (or Late) Paleolithic - mainly based on artifact typology. The subdivisions are characterized this way: Lower Palaeolithic, c 2.5 million - 200,000 BC, the earliest forms of humans (Australopithecus and Homo erectus), and the predominance of core tools of pebble tool, handax, and chopper type; Middle Palaeolithic, c 150,000-40,000 BC, the era of the Neanderthal and the predominance of flake-tool industries (e.g. Mousterian) over most of Eurasia; and Upper Palaeolithic (starting perhaps as early as 38,000 BC-c 10,000 BC), with Homo sapiens sapiens, blade-and-burin industries, and the development of cave art in western Europe. During this stage, man colonized the New World and Australia. The main Palaeolithic cultures of Europe were, in chronological order: 1. Pre-Abbevillian, 2. Abbevillian, 3. Clactonian, 4. Acheulian, 5. Levalloisian, 6. Mousterian, 7. Aurignacian, 8. Solutrean, and 9. Magdalenian. The term was introduced in 1865 by John Lubbock in "Prehistoric Times". The Palaeolithic was originally defined by the use of chipped stone tools but later an economic criterion was added and the practice of hunting and gathering is now regarded as a defining characteristic.hand axSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hand ax, hand-ax, handaxe; biface
DEFINITION: A large bifacially worked core tool, normally oval, pointed, or pear-shaped, and one of the most typical stone tools of the Lower Palaeolithic. It is the diagnostic implement of certain Lower Palaeolithic industries (Abbevillian, Chellean, Acheulian), and one variety of the Mousterian. In spite of the name it was not an ax at all and probably served as an all-purpose tool. The oldest and crudest hand axes have been found in Africa; the finer, Acheulian, tools are known from most of Africa, Europe, southwest Asia and India. It was used for chopping, chipping, flaking, cutting, digging, and scraping. Hand axes first appear between one and two million years ago and they were common in assemblages for about a million years.