An experimental investigation of cut mark production and stone tool attrition

Braun, David R., Pobiner, Brain L. and Thompson, Jessica C. (2008) An experimental investigation of cut mark production and stone tool attrition. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35 5: 1216-1223.


Author Braun, David R.
Pobiner, Brain L.
Thompson, Jessica C.
Title An experimental investigation of cut mark production and stone tool attrition
Journal name Journal of Archaeological Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0305-4403
Publication date 2008-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jas.2007.08.015
Volume 35
Issue 5
Start page 1216
End page 1223
Total pages 8
Publisher Elseveir BV
Language eng
Subject 21 History and Archaeology
2101 Archaeology
Abstract In discussions of Paleolithic hominin behavior it is often assumed that cut marks are an unwanted byproduct of butchery activities, and that their production causes the dulling of stone tool edges. It is also presumed that Paleolithic butchers would have refrained from making cut marks to extend the use life of their tools. We conducted a series of butchery experiments designed to test the hypothesis that cut marks affect the use life of tools. Results suggest cut marks are not associated with edge attrition of simple flake tools, and therefore it is unlikely that Paleolithic butchers would have avoided contact between bone surfaces and tool edges. Edge attrition is, however, significantly greater during skinning and disarticulation than during defleshing. This suggests that skinning and disarticulation activities would require more tool edges relative to butchery events focused purely on defleshing. Differences between the number of cut-marked bones relative to the number of stone artifacts deposited at taphonomically comparable archaeological localities may be explicable in terms of different types of butchery activities conducted there, rather than strictly the timing of carcass access by hominins. Archaeological localities with higher artifact discard rates relative to raw material availability may represent an emphasis on activities associated with higher edge attrition (e.g. skinning or disarticulation).
Keyword Cut marks
Actualistic study
Butchery
Stone tools
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Social Science Publications
 
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