Levallois technology is a hallmark of many Middle and Late Pleistocene stone artifact assemblages, but its definition has been much debated. Here we use three-dimensional photogrammetry to investigate the geometric variation among Levallois and discoidal core technologies. We created models of experimental and archaeological stone artifact assemblages to quantitatively investigate the morphologies of Levallois and discoidal core technologies. Our results demonstrate that technological characteristics of Levallois technology can be distinguished from discoidal variants by analyzing the relative volumes and angles of the two flaking surfaces. We apply these methods to a random subset of Middle Paleolithic cores from Skhūl (Israel) and show that, overall, the Skhūl archaeological sample falls in range with the experimental Levallois sample. This study advocates the investigation of core technology on a spectrum to elucidate particular reduction trajectories while maintaining visible outliers and dispersion within an assemblage. Our quantified approach to studying centripetal core technology broadly is particularly applicable in studies related to forager mobility strategy and raw material use. Ultimately, the methods developed here can be used across temporal and geographic boundaries and facilitate attribute-based inter-site comparisons.
- Digital archaeology
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