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House of cards: cultural taxonomy and the study of the European Upper Palaeolithic

  • Natasha Reynolds (a1) and Felix Riede (a2)

Abstract

A fundamental element of Upper Palaeolithic archaeological practice is cultural taxonomy—the definition and description of taxonomic units that group assemblages according to their material culture and geographic and chronological distributions. The derived taxonomies, such as Aurignacian, Gravettian and Magdalenian, are used as units of analysis in many research questions and interpretations. The evidential and theoretical bases defining these taxonomic units, however, are generally lacking. Here, the authors review the current state of Upper Palaeolithic cultural taxonomy and make recommendations for the long-term improvement of the situation.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence (Email: natasha.reynolds@u-bordeaux.fr)

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House of cards: cultural taxonomy and the study of the European Upper Palaeolithic

  • Natasha Reynolds (a1) and Felix Riede (a2)

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