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2020-10-20 10:12:48   •   ID: 2208

Late Neanderthals in N/W-France: Redundancy in Action

Figure 1
Figure 1: This is a small collection coming from hundred of Cordiform Bifaces found at Lommoye, today a French commune with 671 inhabitants in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region. It belongs to the arrondissement of Mantes-la-Jolie and the canton of Bonnières-sur-Seine.

This surface scatter is an outpost of the "Mousterian with bifacial tools", mostly known from the Armorican Massif, a geologic massif that covers a large area in the northwest of France, including Brittany, the western part of Normandy and the Pays de la Loire.

About the Bifacial Mousterian in N/W-France see for example here: 1179 , 1501 , here 1665 , here: 1250 , 1585 , 1178 and here: 1077

Figure 2 shows some Bifaces from from Le Bois-l'Abbé at Saint-Julien de la Liègue, a site that comprises many thousands of Handaxes, often reduced to tiny implements of 3-6 cm long- see 1163

After the sinking of the "Human Revolution” paradigm and the "Inferior Neanderthal" discourse, it is time to ask for the function of high level Redundancy of the Bifacial Mousterian in N/W-France, especially of the large workshop sites mentioned above.

Figure 1
In technological systems, redundancy means providing more time, information, and/or resources than is strictly necessary for a system's successful functioning.

It is allowing a bit extra or the duplication of component parts of a system or a subsystem as a backup regarding safe provision to increase reliability (Compton and Harwood 2007).

How can this statement applied to the Bifacial late Mousterian in France?

  • Redundancy plays a critical role in buffering the group’s informational resources. Larger groups store information in more heads than smaller ones.

    Information can easily drift out of a small group, through unlucky accidents to those with rare skills (Sterelny 2011).

    Small dispersed Neanderthal groups were in need of a high redundancy system, especially during the rapid changing ecological condition during MIS3. The permanent learning of replication of a versatile multifunctional tool like a Cordiform handaxe, that could also easily used for the production of sharp expedient flakes was a prerequisite in surviving

  • According to the work of Rice and Peck, Flexibility and Redundancy are the two most prominent principles describing the Resilience of a system. Therefore a stable socially system may not optimally work without improvements of its redundant components or innovations.

    Resilience will only increase by the Visibility and the Acceptance of adaptive innovations by other members of a given group. Indeed the rate of innovation has steadily increased after the rise of Homo sapiens compared to the innovation rate of Neanderthals, whatever the cause may be

  • Standardization and formal redundancy are essential properties of the survival of any society. Anyhow, it may be suggested, that Neanderthals, being basically cognitive equal to AHMs, were on one hand highly resilient and successful in survival over hundred of thousand years by their Redundancy, but suffered in the long term from poor visibility and diffusion of technical innovations. Maybe their conservatism was finally one cause for their demision from the Paleontologic record

Surf the Blog: see here 2205 , and here 1238 .