Were the Technological Innovations of the Gravettian Triggered by Climatic Change? Insights from the Lithic Assemblages from Hohle Fels, SW Germany Special Issue: The Impact of Upper Pleistocene Climatic and Environmental Change on Hominin Occupations and Landscape Use, Part 1

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Andreas Taller
Nicholas J. Conard


During the Gravettian several innovations in lithic technology and typology appear. Blank production focuses on long, straight and narrow blades and bladelets. The preparation and maintenance of cores is frequent, and core exploitation is efficient. Often bladelets and smaller blades are transformed into standardized backed elements, among them the well-known Gravette and Microgravette points. Backed elements were often hafted. Many were parts of a modular projectile technology, but some probably served other uses such as cutting or perforating. These artifacts are part of a highly mobile toolkit, and their modular nature makes them especially convenient in terms of transport and maintenance. The Gravettian developed during a phase of constant cooling in Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3, which ultimately lead to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Here we look at the lithic assemblages from the Gravettian of Hohle Fels Cave in southwest Germany and discuss the possible impact that climate change might have had on Paleolithic hunter-gatherer societies during the end of MIS 3. We examine the degree to which environmental development triggered some of the innovations that came with the Gravettian.

This special issue is guest-edited by William Davies (Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins, University of Southampton) and Philip R. Nigst (Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology, University of Vienna).

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