Models of Raw Material Exploitation as an Indicator of Middle Paleolithic Mobility: Case Studies from Uplands of Northern Central Europe

  • Paweł Valde-NowakEmail author
  • Magda CieślaEmail author
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


Short-term settlement of Middle Paleolithic hunters leaves a specific toolkit on an archaeological site. In spite of this well-known fact, in some cases, concerning the duration of stay of groups of Neanderthals, mere techno-typological analysis of lithic assemblages seems insufficient. Analysis of raw material exploitation, combined with information about long use, or reworking of certain artifacts appears to be helpful.

On most sites from the Middle Paleolithic, archaeological data concerning the raw material procurement shows that it generally had a local character. However, on a range of sites known from uplands of Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, artifacts prepared of raw material transported from distant outcrops can be found. Such artifacts are usually reworked, showing traces of their long use and value for prehistoric people. It can be assumed that there exists a link between the settlement duration and the knowledge about the explored area, which can be observed in some lithic assemblages. Situation, where a large variability of regional raw material is represented on a site, can be treated as an indicator of stable settlement, while varied exotic raw materials’ presence documents an increase in group mobility.


Neanderthal mobility Central Europe Raw materials 



We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. John Willman for the linguistic revision of the text and to the Polish National Science Center for supporting our research with grants: “Palaeolithic ritual place in Obłazowa Cave” Grant No. 2015/17/B/HS3/00181 and “The last Neanderthals in the Ciemna Cave” Grant No. UMO-2014/15/BHS3/02219.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland

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