All these Fantastic Cultures? Research History and Regionalization in the Late Palaeolithic Tanged Point Cultures of Eastern Europe

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  • Livija Ivanovaitė, Museum of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Kamil Serwatka, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum of Łódź
  • ,
  • Christian Steven Hoggard, University of Southampton
  • ,
  • Florian Sauer, University of Cologne
  • ,
  • Felix Riede
The Late Glacial, that is the period from the first pronounced warming after the Last Glacial Maximum to the beginning of the Holocene (c. 16,000–11,700 cal bp), is traditionally viewed as a time when northern Europe was being recolonized and Late Palaeolithic cultures diversified. These cultures are characterized by particular artefact types, or the co-occurrence or specific relative frequencies of these. In north-eastern Europe, numerous cultures have been proposed on the basis of supposedly different tanged points. This practice of naming new cultural units based on these perceived differences has been repeatedly critiqued, but robust alternatives have rarely been offered. Here, we review the taxonomic landscape of Late Palaeolithic large tanged point cultures in eastern Europe as currently envisaged, which leads us to be cautious about the epistemological validity of many of the constituent groups. This, in turn, motivates us to investigate the key artefact class, the large tanged point, using geometric morphometric methods. Using these methods, we show that distinct groups are difficult to recognize, with major implications for our understanding of patterns and processes of culture change in this period in north-eastern Europe and perhaps elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Archaeology
Pages (from-to)162-185
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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