Acheulean

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Related to Acheulean handaxe: Acheulean Tool Kit

Acheulean

[ə′shül·ē·ən]
(archeology)
Lower Paleolithic archeological time, characterized by biface tools having cutting edges all around.
References in periodicals archive ?
After dismissing the link between symmetry and health, Hodgson goes on to argue that the degree of symmetry found in Acheulean handaxes may have resulted from a general preference for symmetry in the environment.
At present I agree with Mithen's (2008: 766) assessment that the 'Sexy Handaxe Theory' remains the most parsimonious and complete explanation for the level of symmetry evident in Acheulean handaxes, as well as their various characteristics of dispersion, persistence and morphology.
Acheulean handaxes have been reported from surface deposits throughout Anatolia, especially along the major river drainages in south-east Turkey (Harmankaya & Tanindi 1996; Kuhn 2002; Takiran 2008).
In reply to Machin's criticism of Kohn and Mithen's (1999) 'Sexy Handaxe Theory' in a recent Antiquity debate (Machin 2008: 761-6), Mithen (2008: 766-9) states that sexual selection is still relevant to the symmetry of Acheulean handaxes because this provides the only theory that can account for the various features typical of such artefacts.
In this regard, Machin's finding that the enhanced symmetry of Acheulean handaxes goes beyond the functional needs of butchering may not imply, as Mithen proposes, that this supports sexual selection; rather, this may be evidence of an interest in symmetry for other, more fundamental, reasons.
It may well be that it was the exaggeration and perfection of such imperatives that led to symmetry becoming a focus of concern in Acheulean handaxes beyond any practical purposes.
This is not to imply that non-functional Acheulean handaxes derive from such mental states.