Kambiz has an excellent post on the recent news about the recent research comparing Middle and Upper Paleolithic tool sets.
At issue, really, is the concept of the “Creative Explosion”. A lot of archaeologists and paleoanthropologists see a clear divide between the two in terms of patterning of the archaeological record, use of symbols, the possible origins of language, and a lot more. Others argue that behavioral continuity can be seen bridging the two. (Two good papers on the subject can be found here and here.) At any rate, according to Kambiz in the new paper:
…Eren and crew made some wide flakes (from discoidal cores) that resembled Neandertal and human tools from the Middle Paleolithic tools and compared them to more specialized narrow blades made by modern humans, from the Upper Paleolithic, who came from a more recent expansion out of Africa.
Basically, they engaged in some experimental archaeology to answer the question. I bring all this up because over at Uncommon Descent the ever incomprehensible Denyse O’Leary has a post on the subject as well. According to Denyse:
The textbook belief was in fact based on the now-rotting Tree of Life popularized by Darwin and his modern-day followers. They assumed that modern humans (homo sapiens) were “superior” to the Neanderdumbsters, and interpreted all facts about the latter to fit that view.
Which ignores the last 30 years, or so, of paleoanthropology concerning Neanderthals. But that is a different story. Denyse concludes:
These findings generally support the non-materialist view that human consciousness is not a slowly evolving thing. Once present, it changes everything very quickly. Assuming otherwise leads to mistakes about early humans.
So, if I understand Denyse correctly, this current materialist study of lithic artifacts undermines the previous materialist view of Neanderthals so ID wins? Even odder, she doesn’t seem to think much of this study to begin with. It’s like she is saying “this crap study proves the other crap studies wrong so I win!”
The point of all this is that in looking around for some interesting resources on the subject of lithic analysis I stumbled across “the lithics site” a resource for archaeological lithic analysts. Another valuable reference is Multiple approaches to the study of bifacial technologies, also Stone Age Reference Collection