18 Facts About Acheulean


Acheulean, from the French acheuleen after the type site of Saint-Acheul, is an archaeological industry of stone tool manufacture characterized by the distinctive oval and pear-shaped "hand axes" associated with Homo erectus and derived species such as Homo heidelbergensis.

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Acheulean tools were produced during the Lower Palaeolithic era across Africa and much of West Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Europe, and are typically found with Homo erectus remains.

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The Acheulean includes at least the early part of the Middle Paleolithic.

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Type site for the Acheulean is Saint-Acheul, a suburb of Amiens, the capital of the Somme department in Picardy, where artifacts were found in 1859.

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Acheulean 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".

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Acheulean's ideas were ignored by his contemporaries, who subscribed to a pre-Darwinian view of human evolution.

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However, the earliest accepted examples of the Acheulean currently known come from the West Turkana region of Kenya and were first described by a French-led archaeology team.

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From geological dating of sedimentary deposits, it appears that the Acheulean originated in Africa and spread to Asian, Middle Eastern, and European areas sometime between 1.

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Relative dating techniques suggest that Acheulean tools followed on from earlier, cruder tool-making methods, but there is considerable chronological overlap in early prehistoric stone-working industries, with evidence in some regions that Acheulean tool-using groups were contemporary with other, less sophisticated industries such as the Clactonian and then later with the more sophisticated Mousterian, as well.

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The enormous geographic spread of Acheulean techniques makes the name unwieldy as it represents numerous regional variations on a similar theme.

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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.

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Mode 2 Acheulean toolmakers used the Mode 1 flake tool method but supplemented it by using bone, antler, or wood to shape stone tools.

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Primary innovation associated with Acheulean hand-axes is that the stone was worked symmetrically and on both sides.

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Some Acheulean tools were sharpened instead by the removal of a tranchet flake.

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Loren Eiseley calculated that Acheulean tools have an average useful cutting edge of 20 centimetres, making them much more efficient than the 5-centimetre average of Oldowan tools.

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Use-wear analysis on Acheulean tools suggests there was generally no specialization in the different types created and that they were multi-use implements.

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North and east of the Roe Line, Acheulean hand-axes were made directly from large stone nodules and cores; while, to the south and west, they were made from flakes struck from these nodules.

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Late Acheulean tools were still used by species derived from H erectus, including Homo sapiens idaltu and early Neanderthals.

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