Neanderthal acculturation in western Europe? A critical review of the evidence and its interpretation

F d'Errico, J Zilhao, M Julien, D Baffier, J Pelegrin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

356 Citations (Scopus)


The presence of bone tools, personal ornaments, and apparently "modern" stone tools in European late Middle Paleolithic or pre-Aurignacian Paleolithic contexts is generally interpreted as the result of the acculturation of final Neanderthal populations by anatomically modern humans. Analysis of the stratigraphic, chronological, and archaeological data from the key site of Grotte du Renne (Arcy-sur-Cure, France) shows that the notion of acculturation, as commonly understood, is inconsistent with the evidence. It is argued here that this site is not an exceptional case and is best explained by models of independent development that are supported by a reevaluation of Chitelperronian technology and by the patterns of chronological and geographical distribution of Aurignacian, Chatelperronian, Uluzzian, and late Mousterian set tlements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S1-S44
Number of pages44
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

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