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Journal Article

Neandertal and Early Modern Human Behavioral Variability A Regional‐Scale Approach to Lithic Evidence for Hunting in the Levantine Mousterian

John J. Shea
Current Anthropology
Vol. 39, No. S1, Special Issue The Neanderthal Problem and the Evolution of Human Behavior (June 1998), pp. S45-S78
DOI: 10.1086/204690
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/204690
Page Count: 34
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Neandertal and Early Modern Human Behavioral Variability A Regional‐Scale Approach to Lithic Evidence for Hunting in the Levantine Mousterian
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Abstract

In southwestern Asia, both Neandertals and early modern humans are associated with the same Levantine Mousterian archaeological complex for tens of thousands of years. Thus, the Levantine Mousterian archaeological record offers the possibility of comparing long‐term patterns of Neandertal and early modern human adaptation. Ecological considerations suggest that Levantine Mousterian subsistence strategies varied along a continuum paralleling contrasts between Mediterranean woodland and Irano‐Tura‐nian steppe ecozones. This hypothesis is tested with evidence for the production and use of Levallois points, which breakage patterns suggest were used as spear points. Stone spear points would have been advantageous mainly in intercept hunting and disadvantageous in encounter hunting. High frequencies of Levallois points among assemblages from the steppic interior and southern Levant and low frequencies of points among assemblages from the coastal and northern Levant suggest support for this model of Levantine Mousterian behavioral variability. Lithic assemblages associated with Neandertals exhibit higher point frequencies than those associated with early modern humans. This could suggest that in the Levant the adaptation of Neandertals was different from and possibly more predatory than that of early modern humans.

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