Handaxe Function at Shishan Marsh-1: Preliminary Results of an Experimental Use-Wear Analysis

Author(s): John Murray; Daniel Stueber; April Nowell

Year: 2017


Although handaxes are one of the longest lasting and most iconic stone tools in the Paleolithic, little experimental work has been done to inform archaeologists about handaxe function. The research presented here explores handaxe function using low powered microscopy and an image-based GIS approach. 32 handaxes were created with chert collected from outcrops in the region surrounding Shishan Marsh-1. For the purpose of this study, the researchers focused on experiments involving subsistence activities such as butchery, plant and shellfish processing, and digging. Prior to use, the edges of the experimental handaxes were examined for knapping traces using a Wild M420 Makroskop and photographed at 72x. Blind tests were employed with instructional guidelines to help standardize recording procedures and increase the accuracy of the methodology. The results of the edge damage distribution analysis of the prehistoric handaxes was then compared with the results of the experimental collection. This research has implications regarding handaxe function, hominin tool use in a desert refugia, and provides future directions in experimental protocol.

Cite this Record

Handaxe Function at Shishan Marsh-1: Preliminary Results of an Experimental Use-Wear Analysis. John Murray, Daniel Stueber, April Nowell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430849)


Gis Handaxe Use-wear

Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14693