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Title: Experimental protocols for the study of battered stone anvils from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania)
Authors: Torre, Ignacio de la
Benito-Calvo, Alfonso
Arroyo, Adrián
Zupancich, Andrea
Proffitt, Tomos
Keywords: Battered tools;Stone anvils;Lithic use wear;GIS;Early Stone Age;Olduvai
Issue Date: Jan-2013
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Archaeological Science, 2013, 40 (1), 313-332
Abstract: Percussive activities are highly relevant in the economy of modern hunter-gatherer societies and other primates, and are likely to have been equally important during the Palaeolithic. Despite the potential relevance of percussive activities in the Early Stone Age, attempts to study battered artefacts are still rare. In order to establish protocols of analysis of battered tools, this paper pursues an interdisciplinary approach combining techno-typological, refit, use-wear and GIS studies of experimental anvils from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania). The main aim is to classify types of damage on battered artefacts according to the percussive task performed, and hence identify patterns that can be used to interpret the Oldowan and Acheulean evidence. Our results indicate that abrasion marks on anvil surfaces are typical of nut cracking, while bone breaking leaves characteristic scars and abrasion marks on the edges of anvils. Pounding of soft materials such as meat and plants also causes battering of anvils, producing morphological and spatial patterns that can be discerned from the heavy breakage of anvils during bipolar flaking. By integrating macroscopic, microscopic and spatial analyses of experimental stone tools, this paper contributes to create a referential framework in which Early Stone Age battered artefacts can be interpreted.
ISSN: 0305-4403
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.08.007
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Geocronología y Geología

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