Alleged differences between Palaeolithic assemblages from eastern Asia and the west have been the focus of controversial discussion for over half a century, most famously in terms of the so-called ‘Movius Line’. Recent discussion has centered on issues of comparability between handaxes from eastern Asian and ‘Acheulean’ examples from western portions of the Old World. Here, we present a multivariate morphometric analysis in order to more fully document how Mid-Pleistocene (i.e. ~803 Kyr) handaxes from Bose Basin, China compare to examples from the west, as well as with additional (Mode 1) cores from across the Old World. Results show that handaxes from both the western Old World and Bose are significantly different from the Mode 1 cores, suggesting a gross comparability with regard to functionally-related form. Results also demonstrate overlap between the ranges of shape variation in Acheulean handaxes and those from Bose, demonstrating that neither raw material nor cognitive factors were an absolute impediment to Bose hominins in making comparable handaxe forms to their hominin kin west of the Movius Line. However, the shapes of western handaxes are different from the Bose examples to a statistically significant degree. Moreover, the handaxe assemblages from the western Old World are all more similar to each other than any individual assemblage is to the Bose handaxes. Variation in handaxe form is also comparatively high for the Bose material, consistent with suggestions that they represent an emergent, convergent instance of handaxe technology authored by Pleistocene hominins with cognitive capacities directly comparable to those of ‘Acheulean’ hominins.
- Wang, W., Lycett, S.J., von Cramon-Taubadel, N., Jin, J.J. and Bae, C.J. (2012). Comparison of Handaxes from Bose Basin (China) and the Western Acheulean Indicates Convergence of Form, Not Cognitive Differences. PLoS ONE, 7(4), e35804+.
Peoples: | Places: Bose Basin, China, and Western Acheulean | Topics: Handaxes | DNA Type: