- Michael ChazanMichael ChazanUniversity of Toronto
Levallois refers to a way of making stone tools that is a significant component of the technological adaptations of both Neanderthals and early modern humans. Although distinctive Levallois artifacts were identified already in the 19th century, a consensus on the definition of the Levallois and clear criteria for distinguishing Levallois from non-Levallois artifacts remain elusive. At a general level, Levallois is one variant on prepared core technology. In a prepared core approach to stone tool manufacture, the worked material (the core) is configured and maintained to allow for the production of detached pieces (flakes) whose morphology is constrained by the production process. The difficulty for archaeologists is that Levallois refers to a particular process of manufacture rather than a discrete finality. The study of Levallois exposes limitations of typological approaches to artifact analysis and forces a consideration of the challenges in creating a solid empirical basis for characterizing technological processes.