Working . . . on K. Reubens’s Neanderthal Artifact/Behavioural Regions.

It’s a hard slog. However I’m working on a paper that promises to demonstrate broad regional similarities in the presumed formed tools of the Middle Palaeolithic (MP). These regional groupings, as was ever the case, are interpreted as probably more than one could legally say about Neanderthals and culture. But, hey. The author has examined a huge number of collections. So, if there were regional patterns you’d certainly expect them to stick out. My early reconnaissance, however, leaves me sceptical. [Gee. Fair dinkum?]

Ruebens, K., “Regional behaviour among late Neanderthal groups in Western Europe: A comparative assessment of late Middle Palaeolithic bifacial tool variability,” Journal of Human Evolution (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.06.009

I’ll tease you with a map, some shiny artifacts, and a portion of Reubens’s data. That oughta keep you busy!

The outlines of Reubens’s hypothesized regions.
A and B are termed backed knives: C is called a leaf-shaped biface.
Some quite lovely so-called hand axes. 
A is a cordiform hand axe. 
B is a triangular hand axe. 
C is a bout coupée hand axe.
Oh, for a complete set of data, and not just the means and sigmas. To me, on these parameters, this looks like a metrically homogeneous group of artifacts. The mean lengths for the various named, formed tools are astonishingly similar. With a data set this paper’s readers could easily test the hypothesis that, once again on these parameters, each uniquely named collection of artifacts could be compared with the others to see if they could have been randomly drawn from the same sample. That is, a simple MANOVA would speak volumes. The width and thickness means are also remarkably tightly grouped. Hell, if I didn’t know better I’d guess that, despite the author’s [and every other middle palaeolithic archaeologist’s since Adam, mind] desire to groups the chipped lumps of stone into neat categories, it’d be an uphill battle to justify the classification based on these metrics!

TTFN!

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