The skill spectrum: methods for identifying variable skill levels amongst handaxe-making hominins in the Middle Pleistocene.
Palaeolithic - Lithic technology and analysis - Acheulean handaxe manufacture - Skill level/Know-how - MET - Experimental Archaeology - Cognitive Archaeology - Cultural transmission, traditions, and social norms
My research focuses on demonstrating the skill level variability of Acheulean handaxe-making individuals at the intra-assemblage level. Experimental and ethnoarchaeological observations indicate Acheulean handaxe manufacture is sufficiently complex to warrant sustained and prolonged practice on behalf of the learner. Consequently, there should be multiple attempts visible in the archaeological record that document variably skilled practice. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods for analysing handaxes from the site of Gouzeaucourt in France. Alongside this, an experimental study using variably skilled participants will aid my analysis of the archaeological assemblage at Gouzeaucourt.
Hutchence, L. & Debackere, S. 2018. An evaluation of behaviours considered indicative of skill in handaxe manufacture. Lithics: the journal of the Lithic Studies Society 39: 36–51.