Tool Standardizaiton in the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic: a Closer Look
It has been postulated that one difference between Neanderthals and anatomically modern people lies in a 'clearer mental template' of flaked stone tools on the part of modern people. This is thought to have been manifested in greater tool standardizaiton during the Upper Palaeolithic than in the Middle Palaeolithic. Testing of this hypothesis, using three samples of a characteristic Upper Palaeolithic tool class - burins - from one Middle Palaeolithic and two Upper Palaeolithic assemblages, reveals that they are equally standardized for both metric and non-metric traits. Further consideration suggests that most Paleolithic flaked stone tools are poorly suited to test notions of standardization, although some tool attribues may be well suited when considered in specific adaptive contexts.