An evaluation of the concept of ‘Lower Perigordian‘ is attempted in this paper. The conclusion of this work suggests that the Lower Perigordian is a fallacious concept, that it can no longer be accepted as the first stage of the French Upper Palaeolithic, and that the so-called Lower Perigordian stone industries may not even represent a unified stage in the development of stone-tool technology.
The terms ‘industry’ and ‘assemblage’ will be used in this paper in the sense defined by Braidwood (1946, 133–6). An industry is a collection of tools of one category of material (here stone or bone only) which appears in archaeological context, or in an untransported geological context. An assemblage is ‘… a variety of categories of artifacts and non-artifactual materials which appears in archaeological context.’ The non-artifactual aspect of an assemblage most notably provides information on geological context and physical relationships. Many of the collections of tools to be dealt with below can in no way be considered assemblages, but we still know something of their archaeological contexts, so they have not yet sunk to the level of Braidwood's ‘aggregations’. ‘Culture’ will be used in its anthropological sense to mean the whole of patterned, learned behaviour shared by a group of human beings, and the effects of this behaviour on material artifacts. If set off by quotation marks, ‘culture’ may refer also to the ‘material culture’ of other writers or be a convenient translation of the French word ‘civilization.’