A Preliminary Analysis of Functional Variability in the Mousterian of Levallois Facies

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Citation: Binford, L. R., & Binford, S. R. (1966) A Preliminary Analysis of Functional Variability in the Mousterian of Levallois Facies. American anthropologist, 68(2) (RSS)
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): A Preliminary Analysis of Functional Variability in the Mousterian of Levallois Facies
Download: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/aa.1966.68.2.02a001030/epdf


In this article, the authors would like to evaluate with Bordes’ typological approach of Mousterian and suggest new approach about the lithics which seeks more meaningful and functional. Bodes classified the Mousterian assemblage into 4 categories (The Mousterian of Asheulian Tradition, Typical Mousterian, Denticulate Mousterian and Charenlian Mouterian) and 63 types of lithics by shape of the lithic itself. And he interpreted the difference of types based on one of main hypotheses which is that each type of Mousterian represents the remains of a different people, each group characterized by its own traditional way of making tools. However, Bindfords point out that this hypothesis was not tested so that they test the Bordes’ typology and introduce another technique of interpretation.

They focus on causations of assemblages and believe the difference of lithics came from certain functional reason. They apply the scientific method of ‘Factor analysis’ which isolate units (of causations or of functions of lithic) and evaluate the relationship between the units and relationship (matrix of coefficiency) with possible function of lithic and real case using statistics. The scale of expression is from -1 to 1. 1 indicates perfect one-to-one matching, 0 indicates the variables are unrelated, and -1 indicates opposite relationship. Another essential in the factor analysis is the concept of kinds of variance and it indicates the correlation with other variables through the squared of statistical value. They test the Bordes’ validation of hypothesis through three Mousterian sites, Jabrud Shelter 1, Houppeville and Shubbabiq with 40 variables (types) of Bordes’s typology asking 4 questions: (1) Does the composition of assemblage from different occupations correspond to unit factors or combinations of factors? (Bordes-Yes, Binfords-No), (2) Do the Bordes’ types of Mousterian industries always correspond to the same assemblage composition defined by factors? (Bordes-Yes, Binfords-No), (3) Is there any regularity in the composition of assemblages at a given location which can be interpreted in terms of regular pattern or past human behavior? (depends on case) and (4) Is there directional change through time evidence in assemblages from a single location which suggests evolutionary or situational changes in human behavior? (depends on case).

They think that Bordes’ approach is wrong because human have general common sense and it can be reflected on tool so different type of lithics is not made by different people but by different purpose. Therefore each site or occupation that has different type of lithics can be interpreted as different function of location such as base camp and working camp.