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‘Stuck like Glue’: A Multi-method Analysis of Hafting Adhesives from Later Stone Age Assemblages in Southern Africa

Author(s): Margaret-Ashley Veall ; Erika Ribechini ; Thibaut Deviese ; Mark Pollard ; Peter Mitchell

Year: 2017

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The characterization of hafting adhesives, the glue of composite tools, by chemical analysis and microscopy provides a means by which we may evaluate the organic components of technologies. In southern Africa, the well-preserved assemblages of the Later Stone Age (LSA) present a unique opportunity to evaluate the procured raw materials related to tool manufacture, with a focus on the ingredients of these plastic components. This paper presents the findings of a multi-site study of hafting adhesives from the Holocene assemblages housed at the Albany Museum (Grahamstown, South Africa). Optical light microscopy (OLM), scanning electron microscopy/ energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and gas chromatography coupled mass spectrometry (GC-MS) are used in tandem to identify the botanical sources of adhesives and characterize any organic or inorganic additives. Based on the results obtained from this multi-analytical approach, I will attempt to identify changes or stability in adhesive recipes, and highlight how this contributes to both our understanding of plastic technologies and the narrative of adhesive manufacture in southern Africa.

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‘Stuck like Glue’: A Multi-method Analysis of Hafting Adhesives from Later Stone Age Assemblages in Southern Africa. Margaret-Ashley Veall, Erika Ribechini, Thibaut Deviese, Mark Pollard, Peter Mitchell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431911)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16410

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