Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (02): 183-192.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0005

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Production patterns and strategies of the Acheulean large flakes

LEI Lei1,2,3, LI Dawei4,5, MA Xiaorong6, LIU Kangti6, HOU Yamei1,2, WANG Wei7, LI Hao1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4. Institute for History and Culture of Science & Technology, Guangxi University for Nationalities, Nanning 530006;
    5. Guangxi Museum of Nationalities, Nanning, Guangxi 530018
    6. Youjiang Museum of Nationalities, Baise 533000
    7. Institute of Cultural Heritage, Shandong University, Qingdao 266235
  • Received:2019-06-29 Revised:2019-11-09 Online:2020-05-15 Published:2020-07-17


Producing large flakes and making the large cutting tools are two core elements of the Acheulean technology. Compared with extensive studies on the manufacture of Acheulean tools, technologies and strategies involved in producing Acheulean large flakes have received less attention in China. In this study, we focus on introducing a variety of the large flake production technologies abroad, with the analysis of patterns and characteristics of each method. According to the complexity of these methods, we have divided them into three groups. The first mainly refers to cobble opening technology, which uses natural features of the cobble to produce a single large flake. The second includes bifacial core, sliced slab and the Kombewa methods, all of which share common technological characteristics involving reduction sequences of large cores. The third includes the Chirki, Tabelbala-Tachenghit and Victoria West methods, which are the most sophisticated core flaking technologies in the Acheulean. These latter methods show a certain degree of core preparation and result in the production of large flakes with consistent morphology. Based on the above analysis, we present a preliminary study of large cores and flakes discovered from the Bose Basin in South China, and discuss the significance of these products in completing our understanding of the lithic technology in this region.

Key words: Archaeology, Lithics, Acheulean, Cores, Flakes, Production, Bose Basin

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