Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (02): 354-369.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0011

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A review of lithic technology and implied human behaviors from some typical Acheulean sites

LI Hao1,2(), LEI Lei3, LI Dawei4, ZHANG Meng5   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    3. College of History and Ethnic Culture, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025
    4. Institute for History and Culture of Science & Technology, Guangxi University for Nationalities, Nanning 530006
    5. Department of Cultural Heritage and Museology, Institute of Archaeological Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433
  • Received:2020-03-13 Revised:2020-11-20 Online:2022-04-15 Published:2022-04-13


New research in recent years has obtained a series of achievements on our understanding of technological characteristics of the Acheulean Techno-complex in China. However, few studies in the region have focused on deep-seated issues regarding hominid social behaviors. In this paper, we present a review of social behavioral studies in three well-known Acheulean sites (i.e., Olorgesailie in Kenya, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov in Israel and Boxgrove in England) outside of China. We suggest that the technological strategies or material cultures can be thought as important reflections or expressions of invisible social behaviors, the latter consisting of an essential aspect in understanding the mechanisms and processes of human cultural evolution in the Stone Age. Therefore, in addition to investigating the archaeological records, social behavioral information that implied in these records will also need to be carefully unveiled, through which we can contribute to a better explanation of “the muddle in the middle” in human evolution.

Key words: Acheulean hand axes, Technological strategy, Environmental adaptation, Social behavior, Cultural evolution

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