Mousterian

Mousterian

[moo-steer-ee-uhn]
Mousterian or Levalloiso-Mousterian: see Paleolithic period.
Mousterian is a name given by archaeologists to a style of predominantly flint tools (or industry) associated primarily with Homo neanderthalensis and dating to the Middle Paleolithic, the middle part of the Old Stone Age. It was named after the type site of Le Moustier, a rock shelter in the Dordogne region of France. Similar flintwork has been found all over unglaciated Europe and also the Near East and North Africa. Handaxes, racloirs and points constitute the industry; sometimes a Levallois technique or another prepared-core technique was employed in making the flint flakes.

Mousterian tools that have been found in Europe were made by Neanderthals and date from between 300,000 BP and 30,000 BP. In Northern Africa and the Near East they were also produced by anatomically modern humans. In the Levant for example, assemblages produced by Neanderthals are indistinguishable from those produced by modern humans.

Mousterian technology is evolutionarily significant because it partially replaced the function of the incisor teeth, leading to a reduction of robustness of some of the facial features.

Several Mousterian variants are known:

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