Modern human origins and the fate of the Neanderthals are arguably the most compelling and contentious arenas in paleoanthropology. The much-discussed split between advocates of a single, early emergence of anatomically modern humans in sub-Saharan Africa and supporters of various regional continuity positions is only part of the picture. Equally if not more important are questions surrounding the origins of modern behavior, and the relationships between anatomical and behavioral changes that occurred during the past 200,000 years. Although modern humans as a species may be defined in terms of their skeletal anatomy, it is their behavior, and the social and cognitive structures that support that behavior, which most clearly distinguish Homo sapiens from earlier forms of humans.
This book assembles researchers working in Eurasia and Africa to discuss the archaeological record of the Middle Paleolithic and the Middle Stone Age. This is a time period when Homo sapiens last shared the world with other species, and during which patterns of behavior characteristic of modern humans developed and coalesced. Contributions to this volume query and challenge some current notions about the tempo and mode of cultural evolution, and about the processes that underlie the emergence of modern behavior. The papers focus on several fundamental questions. Do typical elements of "modern human behavior" appear suddenly, or are there earlier archaeological precursors of them? Are the archaeological records of the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age unchanging and monotonous, or are there detectable evolutionary trends within these periods? Coming to diverse conclusions, the papers in this volume open up new avenues to thinking about this crucial interval in human evolutionary history.
About the Author
SOCIAL SCIENCES, GENERAL:Anthropology/Archaeometry
SOCIAL SCIENCES, GENERAL:Archaeology
Transitions Before the Transition
Evolution and Stability in the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age
Erella Hovers Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Steven Kuhn University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
This title explores questions surrounding the origins of modern behavior, and the relationships between anatomical and behavioral changes that occurred during the past 200,000 years. It assembles researchers working in Eurasia and Africa to discuss what was happening during the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age (the "Transition"); i.e. the era prior to or during the appearance of anatomically modern humans in their geographic areas.
INTERDISCIPLINARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO ARCHAEOLOGY
Hard cover, ISBN 0-387-24658-4
December 2005, 246 pp.
Promo Class: B
Profit Centre: P150 Krauss (430)
Table of ContentsGeneral Introduction.- On Naming Things.- Observations on Systematics in Paleolithic Archaeology.- Testing Retouched Flake Tool Standardization During the Middle Paleolithic.- Diversity of Lithic Production Systems During the Middle Paleolithic in France.- Trajectories of Change in the Middle Paleolithic of Italy.- Stasis and Change During the Crimean Middle Paleolithic.- Monospecific or Species-Dominated Faunal Assemblages During the Middle Paleolithic in Europe.- Middle Paleolithic Settlement Patterns in the Levant.- Housekeeping, Neandertal-Style.- The Middle Paleolithic of the Levant.- Middle Paleolithic Subsistence Ecology in the Mediterranean Region.- Projectile Technologies of the African MSA.- From Acheulean to Middle Stone Age in the Kapthurin Formation, Kenya.- The Use of Space in the Late Middle Stone Age of Rose Cottage Cave, South Africa.- “Now You See it, Now You Don't”Modern Human Behavior in the Middle Paleolithic.- Between Observations and Models.