Are osseous artefacts a window to perishable material culture? Implications of an unusually complex bone tool from the Late Pleistocene of East Timor

O'Connor, S., Robertson, G. and Aplin, K. P. (2014) Are osseous artefacts a window to perishable material culture? Implications of an unusually complex bone tool from the Late Pleistocene of East Timor. Journal of Human Evolution, 67 1: 108-119. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.12.002

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
UQ324585OA.pdf Full text (open access) application/pdf 2.33MB 114

Author O'Connor, S.
Robertson, G.
Aplin, K. P.
Title Are osseous artefacts a window to perishable material culture? Implications of an unusually complex bone tool from the Late Pleistocene of East Timor
Journal name Journal of Human Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0047-2484
1095-8606
Publication date 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.12.002
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 67
Issue 1
Start page 108
End page 119
Total pages 12
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract We report the discovery of an unusually complex and regionally unique bone artefact in a Late Pleistocene archaeological assemblage (c. 35 ka [thousands of years ago]) from the site of Matja Kuru 2 on the island of Timor, in Wallacea. The artefact is interpreted as the broken butt of a formerly hafted projectile point, and it preserves evidence of a complex hafting mechanism including insertion into a shaped or split shaft, a complex pattern of binding including lateral stabilization of the cordage within a bilateral series of notches, and the application of mastic at several stages in the hafting process. The artefact provides the earliest direct evidence for the use of this combination of hafting technologies in the wider region of Southeast Asia, Wallacea, Melanesia and Australasia, and is morphologically unparallelled in deposits of any age. By contrast, it bears a close morphological resemblance to certain bone artefacts from the Middle Stone Age of Africa and South Asia. Examination of ethnographic projectile technology from the region of Melanesia and Australasia shows that all of the technological elements observed in the Matja Kuru 2 artefact were in use historically in the region, including the unusual feature of bilateral notching to stabilize a hafted point. This artefact challenges the notion that complex bone-working and hafting technologies were a relatively late innovation in this part of the world. Moreover, its regional uniqueness encourages us to abandon the perception of bone artefacts as a discrete class of material culture, and to adopt a new interpretative framework in which they are treated as manifestations of a more general class of artefacts that more typically were produced on perishable raw materials including wood.
Keyword Australasia
Hafting
Material culture
Projectile
Wallacea
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 16 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 04 Mar 2014, 00:43:47 EST by System User on behalf of School of Social Science