L.G. Freeman is a major scholar of Old World Paleolithic prehistory and a self-described “behavioral paleoanthropologist.” Anthropology without Informants is a collection of previously published papers by this preeminent archaeologist, representing a cross section of his contributions to Old Work Paleolithic prehistory and archaeological theory.
A socio-cultural anthropologist who became a behavioral paleoanthropologist late in his career, Freeman took a unique approach, employing statistical or mathematical techniques in his analysis of archaeological data. All the papers in this collection blend theoretical statements with the archeological facts they are intended to help the reader understand.
Although he taught at the University of Chicago for the span of his 40-year career, Freeman is not well-known among Anglophone scholars, because his primary fieldwork and publishing occurred in Cantabrian, Spain. However, he has been a major player in Paleolithic prehistory, and this volume will introduce his work to more American Archaeologists.
This collection brings the work of an expert scholar, to a broad audience, and will be of interest to archaeologists, their students, and lay readers interested in the Paleolithic era.
Hunter-gatherers of the Upper Paleolithic period of the late Pleistocene epoch in western Europe left a legacy of cave paintings and material remains that have long fascinated modern man. This book draws on theories derived from cultural anthropology and cognitive archaeology to propose a reconstruction of the religious life of those people based on the patterning and provenience of their artifacts.
Based on the premises that all members of Homo sapiens sapiens share basically similar psychological processes and capabilities and that human culture is patterned, the author uses ethnographic analogy, inference from material patterns, and formal analysis to find in prehistoric imagery clues to the cosmology that lay behind them. The resulting book is an intriguing speculation on the nature of paleolithic religion, offering scholars a valuable synthesis of anthropological, archaeological, and sociological research, and general readers an accessible account of how our forebears may have regarded the unknown.
A major problem confronting archeologists is how to determine the function of ancient stone tools. In this important work, Lawrence H. Keeley reports on his own highly successful course of research into the uses of British Paleolithic flint implements. His principal method of investigation, known as "microwear analysis," was the microscopic examination of traces of use left on flint implements in the form of polishes, striations, and breakage patterns.
The most important discovery arising from Keeley's research was that, at magnifications of 100x to 400x, there was a high correlation between the detailed appearance of microwear polishes formed on tool edges and the general category of material worked by that edge. For example, different and distinctive types of microwear polish were formed during use on wood, bone, hide, meat, and soft plant material. These correlations between microwear polish and worked material were independent of the method of use (cutting, sawing, scraping, and so on). In combining evidence of polish type with other traces of use, Keeley was able to make precise reconstructions of tool functions. This book includes the results of a "blind test" of Keeley's functional interpretations which revealed remarkable agreement between the actual and inferred use of the tools tested.
Keeley applied his method of microwear analysis to artifacts from three excavation sites in Britain—Clacton-on-the-sea, Swanscombe, and Hoxne. His research suggests new hypotheses concerning such Paleolithic problems as inter-assemblage variability, the function of Acheulean hand axes, sidescrapers, and chopper-cores and points the way to future research in Stone Age studies.
A decade of zooarchaeological fieldwork went into Mary Stiner's pathbreaking analysis of changes in human ecology from the early Mousterian period through the end of Paleolithic cultures in the Levant. Stiner employs a comparative approach to understanding early human behavioral and environmental change, based on a detailed study of fourteen bone assemblages from Hayonim Cave and Meged Rockshelter in Israel's Galilee.
The cave paintings and other preserved remnants of Paleolithic peoples shed light on a world little known to us, one so deeply embedded in time that information about it seems unrecoverable. While art historians have wrestled with these images and objects, very few scientists have weighed in on Paleolithic art as artifacts of a complex, living society. R. Dale Guthrie is one of the first to do so, and his monumental volume The Nature of Paleolithic Art is a landmark study that will change the shape of our understanding of these marvelous images.
With a natural historian's keen eye for observation, and as one who has spent a lifetime using bones and other excavated materials to piece together past human behavior and environments, Guthrie demonstrates that Paleolithic art is a mode of expression we can comprehend to a remarkable degree and that the perspective of natural history is integral to that comprehension. He employs a mix of ethology, evolutionary biology, and human universals to access these distant cultures and their art and artifacts. Guthrie uses innovative forensic techniques to reveal new information; estimating, for example, the ages and sexes of some of the artists, he establishes that Paleolithic art was not just the creation of male shamans.
With more than 3,000 images, The Nature of Paleolithic Art offers the most comprehensive representation of Paleolithic art ever published and a radical (and controversial) new way of interpreting it. The variety and content of these images—most of which have never been available or easily accessible to nonspecialists or even researchers—will astonish you. This wonderfully written work of natural history, of observation and evidence, tells the great story of our deepest past.
This major work, the result of collaboration among scholars who worked
at dozens of sites from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, is the
first volume in English to summarize the massive quantity of archaeological
data on the Paleolithic occupation of Siberia. Written by leading Russian
experts and edited by scholars including the late Demitri Shimkin, the
book presents the results of field studies conducted over some twenty-five
It traces the routes of human migration throughout Eurasia, shows Siberian
lithic industries as they evolved from the Early through the Middle and
Late Paleolithic, and correlates them with reports from Mongolia, China,
Japan, and America.
"A major, singular contribution. . . . Several more geographically
or temporally restricted texts exist, but none I've seen can match the
breadth or depth of this massive work."
-- John W. Olsen, coeditor of Paleoanthropology and Paleolithic Archaeology in the People's Republic of China
"A much needed work marked by uniformly high scholarship and clear
writing, this will be a standard reference of value for years to come."
-- J. M. Adovasio, Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute and Archaeology
Research Program, Mercyhurst College