Acheulean


Acheulean

Acheulean (also spelled Acheulian, pron-en|əˈʃuːliən) is the name given to an archaeological industry of stone tool manufacture associated with prehistoric hominins during the Lower Palaeolithic era across Africa and much of West Asia and Europe. Acheulean tools are typically found with Homo erectus remains.

It was the dominant technology for the vast majority of human history and more than one million years ago it was Acheulean tool users who left Africa to first successfully colonize Eurasia.ref|outofafrica Their distinctive oval and pear-shaped handaxes have been found over a wide area and some examples attained a very high level of sophistication suggesting that the roots of human art, economy and social organisation arose as a result of their development. Although it developed in Africa, the industry is named after the type site of Saint Acheul, now a suburb of Amiens in northern France, where some of the first examples were identified in the nineteenth century.

Rediscovery

John Frere is generally credited as being the first to suggest a very ancient date for Acheulean hand-axes. In 1797 he sent two examples to the Royal Academy in London from Hoxne in Suffolk. He had found them in prehistoric lake deposits along with the bones of extinct animals and concluded that they were made by people "who had not the use of metals" and that they belonged to a "very ancient period indeed, even beyond the present world". His ideas were ignored by his contemporaries however, who subscribed to a pre-Darwinian view of human evolution.

Later, Jacques Boucher de Crèvecœur de Perthes, working between 1836 and 1846, collected further examples of hand-axes and fossilised animal bone from the gravel river terraces of the Somme near Abbeville in northern France. Again, his theories attributing great antiquity to the finds were spurned by his colleagues until one of de Perthe's main opponents, Dr Jean Paul Rigollot, began finding more tools near Saint Acheul. Following visits to both Abbeville and Saint Acheul by the geologist Joseph Prestwich, the age of the tools was finally accepted.

Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet described the characteristic hand-axe tools as belonging to "L'Epoque de St Acheul" in 1872. The industry was renamed as the Acheulean in 1925.

Dating the Acheulean


Zamora
Providing calendrical dates and ordered chronological sequences in the study of early stone tool manufacture is difficult and contentious. Radiometric dating, often potassium-argon dating, of deposits containing Acheulean material is able to broadly place the use of Acheulean techniques within the time from around 1.65 million years agoref|young to about 100,000 years ago.ref|youngest The earliest accepted examples of the type, at 1.65 m years old, come from the West Turkana region of Kenyaref|age although some have argued for its emergence from as early as 1.8 million years ago.ref|roche

In individual regions, this dating can be considerably refined; in Europe for example, Acheulean methods did not reach the continent until around one million years ago and in smaller study areas, the date ranges can be much shorter. Numerical dates can be misleading however, and it is common to associate examples of this early human tool industry with one or more glacial or interglacial periods or with a particular early species of human. The earliest user of Acheulean tools was "Homo ergaster" who first appeared almost 2 million years ago. Not all researchers use this formal name however and instead prefer to call these users "early Homo erectus".ref|usage Later forms of early humans also used Acheulean techniques and are described below.

Relative dating techniques (based on a presumption that technology progresses over time) suggest that Acheulean tools followed on from earlier, cruder tool-making methods, however there is considerable chronological overlap in early prehistoric stone-working industries and there is evidence in some regions that Acheulean tool-using groups were contemporary with other, less sophisticated industries such as the Clactonianref|barnham and then later, with the more sophisticated Mousterian too. It is therefore important not to see the Acheulean as a neatly defined period or one that happened as part of a clear sequence but as one tool-making technique that flourished especially well in early prehistory. The enormous geographic spread of Acheulean techniques also makes the name unwieldy as it represents numerous regional variations on a similar theme. The term Acheulean does not represent a common culture in the modern sense, rather it is a basic method for making stone tools that was shared across much of the Old World.

The very earliest Acheulean assemblages often contain numerous Oldowan-style flakes and core forms and it is almost certain that the Acheulean developed from this older industry. There have been no excavated examples of transitional tool forms however.ref|oldo

Acheulean stone tools

tages

In the four divisions of prehistoric stone-working,ref|modes Acheulean artefacts are classified as Mode 2, meaning they are more advanced than the (usually earlier) Mode 1 tools of the Clactonian or Oldowan/Abbevillian industries but lacking the sophistication of the (usually later) Mode 3 Middle Palaeolithic technology, exemplified by the Mousterian industry.

The Mode 1 industries created rough flake tools by hitting a suitable stone with a hammerstone. The resulting flake that broke off would have a natural sharp edge for cutting and could afterwards be sharpened further by striking another smaller flake from the edge if necessary (known as retouch). These early toolmakers may also have worked the stone they took the flake from (known as a core) to create chopper cores although there is some debate over whether these items were tools or just discarded cores.ref|choppercore

The Mode 2 Acheulean toolmakers also used the Mode 1 flake tool method but supplemented it by using bone, antler, or wood to shape stone tools. This type of hammer, compared to stone, yields more control over the shape of the finished tool. Unlike the earlier Mode 1 industries, it was the core that was prized over the flakes that came from it. Another advance was that the Mode 2 tools were worked symmetrically and on both sides indicating greater care in the production of the final tool.

Mode 3 technology emerged towards the end of Acheulean dominance and involved the Levallois technique, most famously exploited by the Mousterian industry. Transitional tool forms between the two are called Mousterian of Acheulean Tradition, or MTA types. The long blades of the Upper Palaeolithic Mode 4 industries appeared long after the Acheulean was abandoned.

As the period of Acheulean tool use is so vast, efforts have been made to classify various stages of it such as John Wymer's division into Early Acheulean, Middle Acheulean, Late Middle Acheulean and Late Acheuleanref|wymer for material from Britain. These schemes are normally regional and their dating and interpretations vary.ref|collins

In Africa, there is a distinct difference in the tools made before and after 600,000 years ago with the older group being thicker and less symmetric and the younger being more extensively trimmed. This may be connected with the appearance of "Homo heidelbergensis" in the archaeological record at this time who may have contributed this more sophisticated approach.

Manufacture

The primary innovation associated with Acheulean hand-axes is that the stone was worked symmetrically and on both sides. For the latter reason, handaxes are, along with cleavers, known as biface tools.

Tool types found in Acheulean assemblages include pointed, cordate, ovate, ficron and bout-coupé hand-axes (referring to the shapes of the final tool), cleavers, retouched flakes, scrapers, and segmental chopping tools. Materials used were determined by available local stone types; flint is most often associated with the tools but its use is concentrated in Western Europe; in Africa sedimentary and igneous rock such as mudstone and basalt were most widely used for example. Other source materials include chalcedony, quartzite, andesite, sandstone, chert and shale. Even relatively soft rock such as limestone could be exploited.ref|limestone In all cases the toolmakers worked their handaxes close to the source of their raw materials suggesting that the Acheulean was a set of skills passed between individual groups.ref|gamble2

Some smaller tools were made from large flakes that had been struck from stone cores. These flake tools and the distinctive waste flakes produced in Acheulean tool manufacture suggest a more considered technique, one that required the toolmaker to think one or two steps ahead during work that necessitated a clear sequence of steps to create perhaps several tools in one sitting.

A hard hammerstone would first be used to rough out the shape of the tool from the stone by removing large flakes. These large flakes might be re-used to create tools. The tool maker would work around the circumference of the remaining stone core, removing smaller flakes alternately from each face. The scar created by the removal of the preceding flake would provide a striking platform for the removal of the next. Misjudged blows or flaws in the material used could cause problems, but a skilled toolmaker could overcome them.

Once the roughout shape was created, a further phase of flaking was undertaken to make the tool thinner. The thinning flakes were removed using a softer hammer, such as bone or antler. The softer hammer required more careful preparation of the striking platform and this would be abraded using a coarse stone to ensure the hammer did not slide off when struck.

Final shaping was then applied to the usable cutting edge of the tool, again using fine removal of flakes. Some Acheulean tools were sharpened instead by the removal of a tranchet flake. This was struck from the lateral edge of the hand-axe close to the intended cutting area, resulting in the removal of a flake running across the blade of the axe to create a neat and very sharp working edge. This distinctive tranchet flake can been identified amongst flint-knapping debris at Acheulean sites.

Use

Loren Eiseley calculatedref|eisley that Acheulean tools have an average useful cutting edge of 20 cm making them much more efficient than the 5 cm average of Oldowan tools.

Use-wear analysis on Acheulean tools suggests there was generally no specialization in the different types created and that they were multi-use implements. Functions included hacking wood from a tree, cutting animal carcasses as well as scraping and cutting hides when necessary. Some tools may have been better suited to digging roots or butchering animals than others however.

Alternative theories include a use for ovate hand-axes as a kind of hunting discus to be hurled at prey.ref|discus Puzzlingly, there are also examples of sites where hundreds of hand-axes, many impractically large and also apparently unused, have been found in close association together. Sites such as Melka Kunturé in Ethiopia, Olorgesailie in Kenya, Isimila in Tanzania and Kalambo Falls in Zambia have produced evidence that suggests Acheulean hand-axes may not always have had a functional purpose.

Recently, it has been suggestedref|social that the Acheulean tool users adopted the handaxe as a social artefact, meaning that it embodied something beyond its function of a butchery or wood cutting tool. Knowing how to create and use these tools would have been a valuable skill and the more elaborate ones suggest that they played a role in their owners' identity and their interactions with others. This would help explain the apparent over-sophistication of some examples which may represent a "historically accrued social significance".ref|White

One theory goes further and suggests that some special hand-axes were made and displayed by males in search of mate, using a large, well-made hand-axe to demonstrate that they possessed sufficient strength and skill to pass on to their offspring. Once they had attracted a female at a group gathering, it is suggested that they would discard their axes, perhaps explaining why so many are found together.ref|peacock

Distribution

The geographic distribution of Acheulian tools and thus the people that made them is often interpreted as being the result of palaeoclimatic and ecological factors, such as glaciation and the desertification of the Sahara Desert.ref|distrib Acheulean stone tools have been found across the continent of Africa, save for the dense rainforest around the River Congo which is not thought to have been colonized by humans until later. From Africa its use spread north and east to the cover land in Asia stretching from Anatolia, through the Arabian peninsula, across modern day Iran and Pakistan and into India and beyond. In Europe its users reached in Pannonian Basin and the western Mediterranean regions as well as modern day France, the Low Countries, western Germany and southern and central Britain. Areas further north did not see human occupation until much later due to glaciation.

Until the 1980s it was thought that the humans that arrived in East Asia abandoned the hand-axe technology of their ancestors and adopted chopper tools instead. An apparent division between the Acheulean and non-Acheulean tool industries was identified by Hallam L. Movius who drew the Movius Line across northern India to show where the traditions seemed to diverge. Later finds of Acheulean tools at Chongokni in South Korea and also in Mongolia and China however cast doubt on the reliability of Movius' distinction.ref|Korea Since then, a different division known as the Roe Line has been suggested. This runs across North Africa to Israel and then to India and separates two different techniques used by Acheulean toolmakers. North and east of the Roe Line, Acheulean hand-axes were made directly from large stone nodules and cores whilst to the south and west they were made from flakes stuck from these nodules.ref|gamble

Acheulean tool users

Acheulean tools were not made by fully modern humans that is, "Homo sapiens" although the early or non-modern (transitional) "Homo sapiens idaltu" did use Late Acheulean tools as did proto-Neanderthal species.ref|humans Most notably however it is "Homo ergaster" (sometimes called early "Homo erectus"), whose assemblages are almost exclusively Acheulean, who used the technique. Later, the related species "Homo heidelbergensis" also used it extensively.

The symmetry of the hand-axes has been used to suggest that Acheulean tool users possessed the ability to use language;ref|lang the parts of the brain connected with fine control and movement are located in the same region that controls speech. The wider variety of tool types compared to earlier industries and their aesthetically and well as functionally pleasing form could indicate a higher intellectual level in Acheulean tool users than in earlier hominines.ref|wynne Others argue that there is no correlation between spatial abilities in tool making and linguistic behaviour and that language is not learnt or conceived in the same manner as artefact manufacture.ref|noway

Lower Palaeolithic finds made in association with Acheulean hand-axes such as the Venus of Berekhat Ramref|ram have been used to argue for artistic expression amongst the tool users. The incised elephant tibia from Bilzingslebenref|bilz in Germany and ochre finds from Kapthurin in Kenyaref|kapthurin and Duinefontein in South Africaref|duine are sometimes cited as being some of the earliest examples of an aesthetic sensibility in human history. There are numerous other explanations put forward for the creation of these artefacts however and there is no unequivocal evidence of human art until around 50,000 years ago, following the emergence of modern "Homo sapiens".ref|art

The kill site at Boxgrove in England is another famous Acheulean site. Up until the 1970s these kill sites, often at waterholes where animals would gather to drink, were interpreted as being where Acheulean tool users killed game, butchered their carcasses and then discarded the tools they had used. Since the advent of zooarchaeology, which has placed greater emphasis on studying animal bones from archaeological sites, this view has now changed. Many of the animals at these kill sites have since been found to have been killed by other predators and it is likely that people of the period supplemented hunting with scavenging from already dead animals.ref|hunt

Only limited artefactual evidence survives of the users of Acheulean tools save the stone tools themselves. Cave sites were exploited for habitation but the hunter-gatherers of the Palaeolithic also possibly built shelters such as those identified in connection with Acheulean tools at Grotte du Lazaretref|grotte and Terra Amata near Nice in France. The presence of the shelters is inferred from large rocks at the sites which may have been used to weigh down the bottoms of tent-like structures or serve as foundations for huts or windbreaks. These stones may have been naturally deposited, but in any case, a flimsy wood or animal skin structure would leave few archaeological traces after so long. Fire was seemingly being exploited by homo ergaster and it would have been a necessity in colonising colder Eurasia from Africa. Conclusive evidence of mastery over it this early is difficult to find however.

:"For further details of the known environment and people during the time when Acheulean tools were being made, see Palaeolithic and Lower Palaeolithic."

ee also

*Lithic reduction
*Stone Age
*Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures
*Stone tools

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#Note|outofafricaBar-Yosef, O and Belfer-Cohen, A, 2001, "From Africa to Eurasia — Early Dispersals", Quaternary International 75, 19–28, [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VGS-41V33N2-4&_user=10&_handle=V-WA-A-W-AB-MsSWYVW-UUA-U-AAVUUBUYYU-AABDZAAZYU-CEWVDCBZD-AB-U&_fmt=summary&_coverDate=01%2F31%2F2001&_rdoc=4&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%236046%232001%23999249998%23220416!&_cdi=6046&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=f2a72dbc42a839bdfc1371a57ad7f2e5 Abstract]
#Note|youngScarre, C, 2005, p110
#Note|youngestClark, JD, "Variability in primary and secondary technologies of the Later Acheulian in Africa" in Milliken, S and Cook, J (eds), 2001
#Note|ageRoche H and Kibunjia, M, 1994, "Les sites archaéologiques plio-pléistocènes de la formation de Nachukui, West Turkana, Kenya: bilan synthétique 1997–2001", Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris 318 (Série II), 1145–51, qtd in Scarre, 2005
#Note|rocheRoche H et al., 2002, "Les sites archaéologiques pio-pléistocènes de la formation de Nachukui, Ouest-Turkana, Kenya: bilan synthétique 1997–2001", Comptes Rendus Palevol 2, 663–673, qtd in Scarre, 2005
#Note|usageWood, B, 2005, p87.
#Note|barnhamAshton, N, McNabb, J, Irving, B, Lewis, S and Parfitt, S "Contemporaneity of Clactonian and Acheulian flint industries at Barnham, Suffolk" Antiquity 68, 260, p585–589 [http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/ant/076/Ant0760611.htm Abstract]
#Note|oldoClark, JD et al., 1966, "Precision and definition in African archaeology", South African Archaeological Bulletin XXI (83), 114–21 qtd in Scarre, 2005
#Note|modesBarton, RNE, "Stone Age Britain" English Heritage/BT Batsford:London 1997 qtd in Butler, 2005. See also Wymer, JJ, "The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain", Wessex Archaeology and English Heritage, 1999.
#Note|choppercoreAshton, NM, McNabb, J, and Parfitt, S, "Choppers and the Clactonian, a reinvestigation", Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 58, pp21–28, qtd in Butler, 2005
#Note|wymerWymer, JJ, 1968, "Lower Palaeolithic Archaeology in Britain: as represented by the Thames Valley", qtd in Adkins, L and R, 1998
#Note|collinsCollins, D, 1978, "Early Man in West Middlesex", qtd in Adkins, L and R, 1998
#Note|limestonePaddayya, K, Jhaldiyal, R and Petraglia, MD, "Excavation of an Acheulian workshop at Isampur, Karnataka (India)" Antiquity 74, 286, pp 751–752 [http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/ant/074/Ant0740751.htm Abstract]
#Note|gamble2Gamble, C and Steele, J, 1999, "Hominid ranging patterns and dietary strategies" in Ullrich, H (ed.), Hominid evolution: lifestyles and survival strategies, pp 396–409, Gelsenkirchen: Edition Archaea.
#Note|eisleyUnattributed citation in Renfrew and Bahn, 1991, p277
#Note|discusO'Brien, E, 1981, "The projectile capabilities of an Acheulian handaxe from Olorgesailie", Current Anthropology 22: 76–9. See also Calvin, W, 1993, "The unitary hypothesis: a common neural circuitry for novel manipulations, language, plan-ahead and throwing", in K.R. Gibson & T. Ingold (ed.), Tools, language and cognition in human evolution: 230–50. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
#Note|socialGamble, C, 1997, "Handaxes and palaeolithic individuals", in N. Ashton, F. Healey & P.Pettitt (ed.), Stone Age archaeology: 105–9. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Monograph 102.
#Note|WhiteWhite, MJ, 1998, On the significance of Acheulian biface variability in southern Britain", Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 64: 15–44.
#Note|peacockKohn, M and Mithen, S, 1999, "Handaxes: products of sexual selection?", Antiquity 73, 518–26 [http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/ant/073/Ant0730518.htm Abstract]
#Note|distribTodd, L, Glantz, M and Kappelman, J, "Chilga Kernet: an Acheulean landscape on Ethiopia's western plateau" Antiquity 76, 293 pp 611–612 [http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/ant/076/Ant0760611.htm Abstract]
#Note|KoreaHyeong Woo Lee, "The Palaeolithic industries of Korea: chronology and related new findspots" in Milliken, S and Cook, J (eds), 2001
#Note|gambleGamble, C and Marshall, G, "The shape of handaxes, the structure of the Acheulian world", in Milliken, S and Cook, J (eds), 2001
#Note|humansClarke, JD et al., 2003, "Stratigraphic, chronological and behavioural contexts of Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia", Nature 423, 747–52, [http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v423/n6941/abs/nature01670.html Abstract]
#Note|lang Isaac, GL, 1976, "Stages of cultural elaboration in the Pleistocene: possible archaeological indicators of the development of language capabilities", in Origins and Evolution of Languages and Speech (SR Harbard et al. eds.), 276–88, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 280, qtd in Renfrew and Bahn, 1991
#Note|wynneWynne, T, 1995, "Handaxe enigmas", World Archaeology 27, 10–24, qtd in Scarre, 2005
#Note|nowayDibble, HL, 1989, "The implications of stone tool types for the presenceof language during the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic", in The Human Revolution (P Mellars and C Stringer eds) Edinburgh University Press, qtd in Renfrew and Bahn, 1991.
#Note|ramGoren-Inbar, N and Peltz, S, 1995, "Additional remarks on the Berekhat Ram figure", Rock Art Research 12, 131–132, qtd in Scarre, 2005
#Note|bilzMania, D and Mania, U, 1988, "Deliberate engravings on bone artefacts of Homo Erectus", Rock Art Research 5, 919–7, qtd in Scarre, 2005
#Note|kapthurinTryon, CA and McBrearty, S, 2002, "Tephrostatigraphy and the Acheulean to Middle Stone Age transition in the Kapthurin Formation, Kenya", Journal of Human Evolution 42, 211–35, qtd in Scarre, 2005 [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_aset=V-WA-A-W-A-MsSAYZA-UUA-U-AAVUUBBAYY-AABDZABEYY-CEWCCUVZA-A-U&_rdoc=1&_fmt=summary&_udi=B6WJS-457MDF6-N&_coverDate=01%2F31%2F2002&_cdi=6886&_orig=search&_st=13&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=d0756f7e238fd6142a052deb40f175d8 Abstract]
#Note|duineCruz-Uribe, K et al, 2003, "Excavation of buried late Acheulean (mid-Quaternary) land surfaces at Duinefontein 2, West Cape Province, South Africa", Journal of Archaeological Science 30, 559–75, qtd in Scarre, 2005
#Note|artScarre, 2005, chapter 3 , p118 "However, objects whose artistic meaning is unequivocal become commonplace only after 50,000 years ago, when they are associated with the origins and spread of fully modern humans from Africa".
#Note|hunt"...the most conservative conclusion today is that Acheulean people and their contemporaries definitely hunted big animals, though their success rate is not clear" ibid, p 120.
#Note|grotteDe Lumley, 1975, "Cultural evolution in France in its palaeoecological setting during the middle Pleistocene", in After the Australopithecines, Butzer, KW and Issac, G Ll. (eds) 745–808. The Hague:Mouton, qtd in Scarre, 2005

External links

* [http://worldmuseumofman.org/acheuliannafricaartifacts1.htm Acheulian Tools of North Africa — World Museum of Man]
* [http://worldmuseumofman.org/acheulianeuropeartifacts1.htm Acheulian Tools of Europe — World Museum of Man]
* [http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek/acheul.html Acheulean Gallery]
* [http://www.beloit.edu/~museum//logan/paleoexhibit/paleobritain.htm Acheulean tools from Britain]
* [http://antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/biglari/index.html Acheulian Iran]
* [http://www.bu.edu/asor/pubs/nea/69_3-4.htm#FORUM Lower Paleolithic Iran]
* [http://antiquity.ac.uk/ProjGall/aslanian%20et%20al/index.html/ Acheulian Armenia]
*cite web |url=http://www.arch.soton.ac.uk/Prospectus/CAHO/europeresearch.html#acheulian%20project |title= Acheulian Project |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060925031607/http://www.arch.soton.ac.uk/Prospectus/CAHO/europeresearch.html |archivedate=2006-09-25
* [http://www.beloit.edu/~museum//logan/paleoexhibit/acheulian.htm Acheulean France]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3670017.stm Early human fire skills revealed]
* [http://antiquity.ac.uk/ProjGall/marshall/marshall.html The Acheulian biface project: a digital archive for teaching and research]
* [http://www.selimhassan.com/010104.php#cheulian-acheulean-crafts Acheulean replacing Cheulean crafts]


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  • acheulean — ACHEULEÁN s.n. Ultimul subetaj al paleoliticului inferior. [pron. şö le an. / < fr. acheuléen, cf. Saint Acheul – localitate în Franţa]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DN  ACHEULEÁN, Ă, acheuleéni, e, adj., s.n. (Din) ultimul… …   Dicționar Român

  • Acheulean — or Acheulian [ə sho͞o′lē ən] adj. [Fr acheuléen, after St. Acheul, France, where remains were found] designating or of a Lower Paleolithic culture characterized by skillfully made bifacial flint hand axes …   English World dictionary

  • Acheulean — or Acheulian adjective Etymology: French acheuléen, from Saint Acheul, near Amiens, France Date: circa 1909 of or relating to a Lower Paleolithic culture originating in Africa and typified by bifacial tools with round cutting edges …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Acheulean — /euh shooh lee euhn/, adj. of, pertaining to, or typical of a Lower Paleolithic culture of the middle Pleistocene Epoch, characterized by large hand axes and cleavers made by the soft hammer technique. Also, Acheulian. [1890 95; < F acheuléen,… …   Universalium

  • Acheulean — 1. adjective Of or pertaining to a lower Paleolithic period characterized by the presence of flaked bifacial hand axes 2. noun A lower Paleolithic period characterized by the presence of flaked bifacial hand axes …   Wiktionary

  • acheulean — acheu·le·an …   English syllables

  • Acheulean — A•cheu•le•an or A•cheu•li•an [[t]əˈʃu li ən[/t]] adj. ara of or designating a Lower Paleolithic toolmaking tradition characterized by large hand axes made using hammers of wood, bone, or antler rather than stone • Etymology: 1890–95; < F… …   From formal English to slang

  • acheulean — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Acheulean industry — Stone tool industry of the Lower Paleolithic Period characterized by bifacial stone tools with round cutting edges and typified especially by an almond shaped (amygdaloid) flint hand ax measuring 8–10 in. (20–25 cm) in length and flaked over its… …   Universalium

  • Hand axe — Acheulean hand axes from Kent. The types shown are (clockwise from top) cordate, ficron and ovate …   Wikipedia


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