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When Lithics Hit Bones: Evaluating the Potential of a Multifaceted Experimental Protocol to Illuminate Middle Palaeolithic Weapon Technology

Author(s): Geoff Smith ; Elisabeth Noack ; Nina Maria Schlösser ; Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser ; Radu Iovita

Year: 2017

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Summary

Recent zooarchaeological and isotope analyses have largely settled the debate surrounding Neanderthal hunting capacity. The vast numbers of Middle Palaeolithic sites containing the butchered remains of large ungulates demonstrates the ability to obtain and, often, highly process these carcasses. Nevertheless, evidence for the effectiveness and ubiquity of Neanderthal hunting technology, specifically composite hafted tools, has not been illustrated across either their entire spatial or temporal range. In-depth studies have focussed mainly on a small sub-set of lithic artefacts from assemblages emphasising features of breakage patterns, retouch, shape and use-wear.nWhilst most studies have focused on damage to lithic material this study uses a multifaceted experimental programme of controlled experiments in both a laboratory and more realistic setting. Such a two-fold approach allows for investigation of both the projectile delivery system and the resulting damage to both animal and projectile. Central to this research is whether diagnostic impact damage on both types of material can be identified and used in turn to infer Neanderthal hunting behaviour. Evaluating the incidence of lithic and faunal damage signatures from such experiments will improve recognition of these signatures in the archaeological record and allow for a better understanding the mechanisms of Neanderthal hunting.


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When Lithics Hit Bones: Evaluating the Potential of a Multifaceted Experimental Protocol to Illuminate Middle Palaeolithic Weapon Technology. Geoff Smith, Elisabeth Noack, Nina Maria Schlösser, Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser, Radu Iovita. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429492)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15673

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