European Upper Palaeolithic cultural taxa: better off without them?

  title={European Upper Palaeolithic cultural taxa: better off without them?},
  author={John J. Shea},
  pages={1359 - 1361}
  • J. Shea
  • Published 1 October 2019
  • Geography
  • Antiquity
Reynolds and Riede (2019) argue that European Upper Palaeolithic cultural taxonomy has become unworkably complex and that it impedes progress towards the integration of archaeology with new findings from other scientific fields. While I agree with the first part of this argument (Shea 2017), I have reservations about the second. Considering how little mid to late nineteenth-century archaeologists knew about prehistoric stone tools, they did rather well. European Upper Palaeolithic cultural… 

Reject or revive? The crisis of cultural taxonomy in the European Upper Palaeolithic and beyond

We begin this response by thanking Antiquity for hosting this debate on the current crisis in European Upper Palaeolithic cultural taxonomy, and by thanking the three commentators for their

The Initial Upper Paleolithic in Central and East Asia: Blade Technology, Cultural Transmission, and Implications for Human Dispersals

  • Nicolas Zwyns
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology
  • 2021
Archaeological assemblages labeled as Initial Upper Paleolithic are often seen as possible evidence for dispersals of Homo sapiens populations in Eurasia, ca. 45,000 years ago. While most authors

From Artifacts to Cultures: Technology, Society, and Knowledge in the Upper Paleolithic

The creation of cultural taxonomies has been a common feature of European Paleolithic archaeology since its inception nearly two centuries ago. Endeavoring to establish a scientific basis for the

Is it Time to Retire NASTIES in Southern Africa? Moving Beyond the Culture-Historical Framework for Middle Stone Age Lithic Assemblage Variability

ABSTRACT The Middle Stone Age (MSA) of southern Africa provides crucial insight on early Homo sapiens behavioral evolution. Archaeologists have traditionally presented lithic assemblage variability

Testing the Integrity of the Middle and Later Stone Age Cultural Taxonomic Division in Eastern Africa

The long-standing debate concerning the integrity of the cultural taxonomies employed by archaeologists has recently been revived by renewed theoretical attention and the application of new

Filling the Void: Rock-art Continuity Over the Pleistocene–Holocene Boundary in Eastern Iberia

In this paper we study several panels with incised engravings, which have been discovered in recent years, from two shelters in the area of the River Martín (Teruel), Cañada de Marco and Los



Accidents of History: Conceptual Frameworks in Paleoarchaeology

A moment’s reflection will show that the various analytical units commonly used by paleolithic archaeologists in western Eurasia (e.g., Aurignacian, Mousterian) are ‘accidents of history,’ created

House of cards: cultural taxonomy and the study of the European Upper Palaeolithic

Abstract A fundamental element of Upper Palaeolithic archaeological practice is cultural taxonomy—the definition and description of taxonomic units that group assemblages according to their material

Comparative analysis of Middle Stone Age artifacts in Africa (CoMSAfrica)

The CoMSAfrica workshop presented here, has the ambition to build bridges between researchers and research regions in Africa on these paramount topics.

Stone tool analysis and human origins research: Some advice from uncle Screwtape

  • J. Shea
  • Geography
    Evolutionary anthropology
  • 2011
Paleolithic stone tools show complex patterns of variability, suggesting that they have been subject to the variable selective pressures that have shaped so many other aspects of hominin behavior and morphology.

Stone Tools in Human Evolution: Behavioral Differences among Technological Primates

In Stone Tools in Human Evolution John Shea argues that over the past three million years hominins’ technological strategies shifted from occasional tool use to a uniquely human pattern of obligatory tool use, and predicts how the archaeological stone tool evidence should have changed as distinctively human behaviors evolved.

Stone Tools in the Paleolithic and Neolithic Near East: Frontmatter

Straight archaeology French style: the phylogenetic paradigm in historical perspective, in G

  • Clark (ed.) Perspectives on the past: theoretical biases in Mediterranean hunter-gatherer research: 109–39. Philadelphia:
  • 1991