Constraints on levallois core technology: A mathematical model

P. Jeffrey Brantingham, Steven L. Kuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Recent volumetric definitions of Levallois core technology are amenable to mathematical modelling. We present a simple geometric model that permits controlled manipulation of a few of the key parameters defining Levallois core morphology. The models indicate that Levallois cores are relatively efficient at minimizing raw material waste while at the same time maximizing productivity in terms of total number of tool blanks and amount of cutting edge produced. Deviations from an ideal Levallois geometry produce significant declines in both efficiency and productivity. These results implicate mechanical and economic constraints as factors underlying the broad geographic distribution and temporal persistence of Levallois core technologies during the Middle and Late Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-761
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • Archaeology
  • Core reduction strategies
  • Initial upper paleolithic
  • Levallois
  • Lithic technology
  • Material economy
  • Mathematical models
  • Middle paleolithic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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