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Assessing Edge Damage in MSA Lithic Assemblages: Experimental Proxies for the Analysis of Use and Post-Depositional Damage

Author(s): Courtney Jirsa ; Tamara Dogandžic ; Kathryn L. Ranhorn ; David R. Braun

Year: 2017

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Summary

Given the low frequency of retouched stone tools in many Middle Stone Age (MSA) assemblages, the analysis of edge damage on unretouched artifacts offers a promising depth of insight into tool-use behavior. Taphonomic process such as trampling, however, can also cause edge damage on lithic artifacts. As part of the investigation of GaJj17, an MSA site in the Koobi Fora region (Kenya), we conducted an experiment designed to investigate differences between edge damage resulting from use and that resulting from post-depositional damage. Damage was inflected on the edges of a series of ignimbrite flakes in a variety of experimental contexts (e.g. butchery, trampling). These experiments mimicked processes that may inflect damage on tool edges. We assessed the relationship between edge angle and the intensity and continuity of edge damage in these experimentally damaged artifacts. A qualitative assessment of the intensity and continuity of edge damage was used to distinguish use from post-depositional damage. These criteria were applied to in situ and surface collections from GaJj17. These analyses sought to test whether the archaeological assemblages exhibit patterns of damage more similar to experimental use or trampling. This research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation IRES Program (OISE-1358178 and 1358200).


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Assessing Edge Damage in MSA Lithic Assemblages: Experimental Proxies for the Analysis of Use and Post-Depositional Damage. Courtney Jirsa, Tamara Dogandžic, Kathryn L. Ranhorn, David R. Braun. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428940)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
AFRICA


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16892

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America