Penetrating the 'transitional' category: an emic approach to Lincombian Early Upper Palaeolithic technology in Britain

  • John Piprani

Student thesis: Phd


The Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition is seen as an important research focus and key to understanding issues surrounding Neanderthal and modern human interactions. Because of this focus upon human type transitional industries without associated human fossil evidence have been marginalised within the debate. This perspective can be termed etic, looking at overall patterns and millennial timescales to answer 'big' questions. In contrast my research could be termed emic, using a small collection of 'transitional' stone tools to explore the perspective of the producers and users. Human type is not considered relevant here. This approach has allowed a shift in scale; from millennial and pan-European to seasonal and the uplands that now constitute Britain. To explore this emic perspective experimental production has been used to make material a manufacturing process. Metrical, formal and typological analysis has been applied to the archaeological type fossil corpus to more fully comprehend variability. Together these approaches have been used to construct a nuanced and comprehensive châine operatoire model for the industry. This model allowed comparative analysis to derive new understandings from old and new archaeological collections from three sites. Resultant material and behavioural patterns have been interpreted within their particular landscape and general faunal contexts. Emergent themes have been integrated into a seasonal structure to create the desired emic narrative. This process has revealed a maintainable, repairable and adaptable technology used to manage the predictable unpredictability associated with the hunting of migrating large fauna through a long summer season and in uplands of known and unknown stone resources.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorChantal Conneller (Supervisor) & Sian Jones (Supervisor)


  • LRJ
  • Emic
  • Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition,
  • Lincombian,

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