Animal residues found on tiny Lower Paleolithic tools reveal their use in butchery

Flavia Venditti*, Emanuela Cristiani, Stella Nunziante-Cesaro, Aviad Agam, Cristina Lemorini, Ran Barkai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Stone tools provide a unique window into the mode of adaptation and cognitive abilities of Lower Paleolithic early humans. The persistently produced large cutting tools (bifaces/handaxes) have long been an appealing focus of research in the reconstruction of Lower Paleolithic survival strategies, at the expenses of the small flake tools considered by-products of the stone production process rather than desired end products. Here, we use use-wear, residues and technological analyses to show direct and very early evidence of the deliberate production and use of small flakes for targeted stages of the prey butchery process at the late Lower Paleolithic Acheulian site of Revadim, Israel. We highlight the significant role of small flakes in Lower Paleolithic adaptation alongside the canonical large handaxes. Our results demonstrate the technological and cognitive flexibility of early human groups in the Levant and beyond at the threshold of the departure from Lower Paleolithic lifeways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13031
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


FundersFunder number
Irene Levi-Sala Care Archaeological Foundation
Sapienza University International Agreements
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme639286
European Research Council
Tel Aviv University
Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale


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