Definition of Acheulian in English:


(also Acheulean)


  • 1Relating to or denoting the main Lower Palaeolithic culture in Europe (preceding the Mousterian) and a similar culture in Africa. It is represented by hand-axe industries, which are dated as a whole to about 1,500,000–150,000 years ago.

    See also Abbevillian
    • ‘The earliest hominid tools that appear to be part of a standardized tool-making tradition were discovered in the same region: hand axes related to the Acheulean culture.’
    • ‘It is here also that pear-shaped bifacially worked handaxes that have come to characterize an Acheulean tradition now recognized throughout Africa and the Old World have been found in considerable quantity.’
    • ‘Colonizations at this later time were range expansions that may reflect the adaptive changes in human populations marked by the Acheulean industry, which first appears abruptly in eastern Africa some 1.4 MYA.’
    • ‘The Grotte du Lazaret has been known since the early C19; recent scientific excavations there have produced the vestigial remains of an Acheulean shelter, along with abundant stone tools and food remains.’
    • ‘These people are best represented by their distinctive pear-shaped flint or stone handaxes, so-called Acheulian handaxes, of which several thousand have been found in Britain to date.’
    1. 1.1as noun the Acheulian The Acheulian culture or period.


Early 20th century: from French Acheuléen, from St-Acheul near Amiens in northern France, where objects from this culture were found.