Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (04): 547-567.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0046

Special Issue: 特邀文章

• Invited Papers •     Next Articles

A methodological protocol for the analysis of Early Stone Age lithic assemblages

Ignacio de la TORRE1(), Rafael MORA2, PEI Shuwen3,4(), MA Dongdong3,4,5   

  1. 1. Instituto de Historia, CSIC, 28037 Madrid, Spain
    2. División de Prehistoria, Facultat de Lletres, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, 08193, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
    3. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    4. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    5. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2020-12-10 Revised:2021-03-10 Online:2021-08-15 Published:2021-08-17
  • Contact: PEI Shuwen;


This paper proposes an analytical protocol for the study of early Palaeolithic stone tools. Our proposal follows a macroscopic approach and therefore does not cover the equally-important analysis of microscopic traces. Also, it focuses on techno-typological attributes of pre-Middle Palaeolithic artefact, thus avoiding entering into the discussion of the techno-morphological and regional particularities inherent to the lithic record from the Middle Stone Age onwards. Given the overall similarities of technological solutions employed during the Early Stone Age lithic assemblages and their relative typological homogeneity across the Old World, we argue that using standardized protocols in the description of stone tool collections may improve comparability and help understanding global patterns of technological behaviour across the early Palaeolithic. From this perspective, this paper will review the main theoretical approaches to the study of Early Stone Age stone assemblages and will propose analytical perspectives and terminologies in the description of flaked, detached and pounded tools, as well in the study of refits and conventions in artefact measuring and illustration.

Key words: Lithic technology, Theoretical perspectives, Analytical protocols, Early Stone Age

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