Acheulian Cultures of Europe and Africa–Research Notes

December 25, 2018 admin 0 Comment


The representative tool of these lower Paleolithic cultures is Hand axe. The earliest found are described as Chellean hand axes. These are usually large in size and resemble a pear and hence known as pear shaped hand axes. Their lateral sides converge on a pointed end with the opposite end left unflawed so that it may be used as butted to hold the tool in actual use.

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Nobody is sure about its actual use. Perhaps it was a multipurpose tool with emphasis on digging and piercing (because of the pointed working end). Chellean handaxes have been found from England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Syria, Palestine, Java, Africa and India.

Since similar looking hand axes have also been recovered from Abbevillian hand axe. The associated finds suggest that these people should have been living in a warm climate, totally naked and dependent upon food gathering and hunting.

After the discovery of Abbevillian and Chellean hand axes, a large number of hand axes were found. These are Acheulian hand axes. These are smaller in size and look better made and refined as compared to the earlier ones.

These are found to be heavily flaked on both the sides while the earlier ones, though also bifacial, had more flaking on one side leaving the other scantily flaked. Acheulian hand axes have also been found ovate shaped and sometime even irregularly shaped.

Some tools have also been fashioned ‘S’ shaped. Acheullian like tools have also been found from several sites of Africa and Asia and their distribution is equally far and wide.


Although, archaeological evidences of the habitat and economy are too scanty to be organized into a fool proof arrangement, yet it may be suggested that the lower Paleolithic people preferred open land near rivers for their camps.

They also did mammal hunting. The amount of elephant bones recovered from the sites suggests that elephant hunting should be a common practice. Since hunting of such large mammal involved cooperation, it should be a cooperative venture involving not only intra group but also intergroup communication and social intercourse.


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