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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Stone artefacts comprise the most abundant and most ubiquitous sources of evidence for the evolution of hominin behaviour during the Pleistocene. Changes in the ways stone artefacts were made and used over the past 2.5 million years document a number of trends in the evolution of behaviour and behavioural capacities, ranging from scales of land use to cognition. Time-lags between the earliest appearance of a particular method or technique and its widespread adoption show that the long-term evolution of technology was not dependent on invention, but instead was governed by a range of factors affecting the spread and acceptance of new ways of doing things. The global history of Palaeolithic technology is also characterized by regional diversity, as well as by the production and loss of diversity at a smaller scale. These trends reflect population histories as well as adaptations to particular habitats.

Keywords: technology, Palaeolithic, stone tools, technological change, cognitive evolution

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