Trajectories of Change in the Middle Paleolithic of Italy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

32 Scopus citations


This paper examines the idea that there are few if any long-term cultural evolutionary trends in the Middle Paleolithic. First, the general notion of Mousterian stasis is examined. Second, patterns of directional change in lithic technology (laminarity) in two Italian Middle Paleolithic sequences are discussed. Trajectories of change over time trend in opposite directions in the two cases and show very different relationships with the succeeding Upper Paleolithic. Results from this and other papers suggest that Middle Paleolithic hominids were more than capable of altering their behavior, but that there is no generalized tendency for Mousterian industries to develop in the direction of the Upper Paleolithic. This conclusion is difficult to reconcile with progressive views of human cultural evolution. The concept of rugged fitness landscapes may provide a more satisfactory explanatory framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameInterdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology
ISSN (Print)1568-2722


  • Current Anthropology
  • Lithic Technology
  • Oxygen Isotope Stage
  • Scar Pattern
  • Technological Trend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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