Why this revolution? Explaining the major technical shift in Southwestern Europe during the 7th millennium cal. BC

Abstract : During the course of the 7th millennium cal. BC, a major change occurred in stone-working techniques and tool types among the lithic industries of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in North Africa and Western Europe. These mutations not only affected the function and shape of certain tools, but also modified volume management and the techniques used for blade removal. This article proposes a new exploration of this shift, which is the most important during the Mesolithic in Europe, based on the interrogation of a database of 570 sites, using very strict ordering criteria. The examination of the first occurrences of these industries region by region reveals a diffusionist process that seems to begin in North Africa (Tunisia) at the end of the 8th or the very beginning of the 7th millennium cal. BC, before spreading progressively towards the Atlantic Ocean. The data are not yet reliable enough to understand the process beyond the north of the Loire River (Northern France). It then underwent a regional stylistic diversification everywhere. This technical mutation has not been recorded for bone tools or personal ornaments. It was not accompanied by a transformation in social organization, such as for cemeteries during the Early Mesolithic. An analysis of the available data also calls into question all the economic changes sometimes evoked for these periods. Climatic change does not have a direct impact on this phenomenon. Apart from Portugal, which is on the geographic fringe of this shift, the 6200 cal. BC climatic crisis clearly occurred after this diffusion and had no direct effect on its development. On the other hand, the geographic modifications induced by the Holocene warming clearly affected the extension of this phenomenon to Western Europe, with the marine transgression
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Submitted on : Friday, September 18, 2015 - 2:45:58 PM
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Grégor Marchand, Thomas Perrin. Why this revolution? Explaining the major technical shift in Southwestern Europe during the 7th millennium cal. BC. Quaternary International, Elsevier, 2017, 428 (Part B), pp.73-85. ⟨10.1016/j.quaint.2015.07.059⟩. ⟨hal-01201993⟩

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