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Stratum plus. 1999. № 1

Anikovich M. B. (St.-Petersburg, Russia), Ghirea E. Y. (St.-Petersburg, Russia), Nehoroshev P. E. (St. - Petersburg, Russia), Sinizyn A. A. (St.-Petersburg, Russia), Vishniatsky L. B. (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

New dates to the question of «running ahead of time» in the development of the Palaeolythic industries

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Pages: 266-279

Anikovich M.V.

Preaurignacian — «Running ahead of time» or the beginning?

A clear and precise definition of the term « running ahead of time» in the work of L. B. Vishneatsky (1993: 7-16) allows to look at the similar phenomenon not as at «the archaeological curious incident», but as at one of the kinds of the cultural changeableness in prehistory. But it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that some of the stone industries, analysed by L. B. Vishneatsky, can turn out to be not an utterly disappeared phenomenon (Preaurignacian, Howieson’s Poort) but, notwithstanding its old age, a genuine beginning, source of a new archaeological epoch: Upper Palaeolithic period. Such a probability becomes possible if we take into consideration a number of indirect but at the same time interrelated circumstances. Their thorough analysis supports the hypothesis that in ancient European industries of the Aurignacian technocomplex there existed a kind of common source, formed much earlier outside Europe, most probable, in the result of the activity of people of a modern physical type. At present, at least, the Near-Eastern Preaurignac remains the only candidate for the role of such a source.

Ghirea E.Y.

The examples used by L. B. Visneatsky to illustrate the phenomenon of « running ahead of time» are the first of the lamellar complexes known now. The appearance of the blade as one of the leading types of the blanks inevitably leads to a fairly narrowdefined change of the general look of the industry. Moreover, there exist a pre-determination in the industry development on the basis of a serial extraction of flakes, that, eventually, are doomed to become lamellar. The point is that only the blade can be such a serial produced by flakes that is distinguished by a sharp cutting and a fairly long cutting edge. In its turn it presupposes the formation of tool complexes of the same type in various industries. This is definitely seen in the Palaeolithic period, especially in the early one. This fact doesn’t withdraw the question of the reasons of the appearance of qualitative innovations (such as «running ahead of time»), but allows to define the relation to the second phenomenon, used by L.B. Vishneatsky. That is «a normal course of developing» or «a normal evolutionary consecutiveness». The word «norm» itself has a shade of some «must» or execution. Not sharing the idea of predestination of human history, it is impossible to give up the obvious fact of existence in the history of development some stone industries of a certain norm. It can be defined in a relatively narrow choice of possibilities of formation of stone tools available for an ancient man: the blade could have been not invented at all (to make do with the tools with bifacial working), but it couldn’t be invented differently. This fact also explains the controvertial character of developing of palaeoindustry: on the one hand it mostly takes place by stages (certain stages are characterized by a set of ways of formation of the same type), on the other hand, it has certain episodes of «running ahead of time». A step forward on the way of stone industry development — it is a step in one of the few directions, provided by nature, whoever makes it. This narrow enough way can be followed differently, with different speed, forward and backward, but everyone who has chosen it should follow the existing turnings, overcome one and the same ups and downs.

Nehoroshev P.E.

As a main example proving the existence of the phenomenon «running ahead of time» can serve the Preaurignacian of the Near East. However, a detailed analysis of the collections of the stone artefacts from this region available for studying allows to affirm that the Preaurignac does not appear all a sudden, as one set, but is grown on the local base, preserving all qualitative features, that are characteristic of the preceeding industry. On the other hand, the Preaurignacian does not disappear without traces — all its characteristic qualitative features are seen both in the covering it Yabrudiene and in Later Levant Mousterian. The Preaurignacian from a technological point of view can be viewed as an unsuccessful attempt of transition to the lamellar industry. Unsuccessful because the proto-prismatic technology probably didn’t give the blanks of the needed quality. The idea of the mass production of blades this time of a higher quality was realized later, in the Levant Mousterian with the application of more sophisticated technology. None the less, the Preaurignacian can be considered as «running ahead of time», but this «running ahead» is attributed to the Levant Mousterian and not to the Upper Palaeolithic period.

Sinitsin A.A.

The problem of «running ahead of time» in the development of Paleolithic industries put forward by L.B.Vishneatsky is presented in the form of paradox. With the help of traditional typological means, on the base of the traditional taxonomy of Paleolithic a number of phenomena that does not match the traditional picture of evolution is being fixed. The solution of the problem on the empirical base, with the usage of typological categories seems to be unrealizable. The definition of the system of concepts, that allows to understand the mechanism of formation and functioning of the «running ahead of time» phenomenon is also difficult. It is evident that in order to understand this phenomenon it is necessary to change the theoretical idea of evolution and the functioning of culture with a precise definition of requirements, applied to the system of concepts and methodology.

New dates to the question of «running ahead of time» in the development of the Palaeolythic industries.

The analysis of the material from levels 15 and 13 of Yabrud 1 (Rust’s collection) and bed 75 of Tabun (Jelinek’s collection) leads to the conclusion that the Amudian and Pre-Aurignacian industries are both typologically and technologically rather distant from UP standards. At the same time, though not as advanced (derived) as they are sometimes thought to be, both the Amudian and particularly the Pre- Aurignacian provide a picture of what one might expect to observe in an ideal «transitory» Middle/Upper Paleolithic industry. This is true in both typological and technological respects. Taking into account both the stratigraphic position of these industries and their basic similarity in terms of direction of cultural transformation, it is reasonable to consider the Amudian and Pre-Aurignacian as contemporaneous and representative of a specific episode of a rather substantial (albeit gradual) change within the Yabrudian. The notion of an “Intra- Yaburdian Episode” and the designation of the Pre-Aurignacian and Amudian as the industries of this episode would seem appropriate on the basis of current evidence. The Intra-Yabrudian assemblages, together with Howiesons Poort in southern Africa and the Seclinien of north-west Europe, provide good examples of what has been called «running ahead of time» in the development of Paleolithic industries (Vishnyatsky, 1994). In each of these examples we have to deal with cultural transformations resembling those characteristic of the Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition (at least in the realm of stone working). It cannot be ruled out that the causes of changes in all these cases (including here the Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition) also were very similar. What we need most of all to reveal these causes, is an understanding of how the changes in stone technology were connected with and depended on changes in subsistence. However, this end remains distant.

Information about authors: 

Anikovich Mikhail (St.-Petersburg, Russia). Doctor of historical sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences
Е-mail: [email protected]
Ghirea Evgheni (St.-Petersburg, Russia). Candidate of historical sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences
Nehoroshev Pavel (St.-Petersburg, Russia). Candidate of historical sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences
Sinizyn Andrei (St.-Petersburg, Russia). Candidate of historical sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences
Vishniatsky Leonid (St.-Petersburg, Russia). Doctor of historical sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences
E-mail: [email protected]

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