Spatial Variation in Tool Use: Acheulean Forager Patterning at Elandsfontein, South Africa

Author(s): Ella Beaudoin; David R. Braun; Jonathan Reeves

Year: 2018


Despite more than a century of scholarship, our knowledge about the use of stone artifacts remains relatively sparse. Major advances in the analysis of microscopic wear have been the primary focus of much previous research. However, post-depositional processes and the logistics of microscopic analysis limit sample sizes in these studies. New approaches that quantify macroscopic damage patterns on the assemblage scale provide a robust basis for drawing behavioral inferences about hominin tool use. Here we apply these new techniques to a large assemblage of stone artifacts from multiple excavations at Elandsfontein (1 Ma – 780Ka) from the Western Cape of South Africa. Measures of damage location, continuity, and extent provide intriguing insights into the variability in tool use patterns. This analysis is combined with experimental studies of tool use and their subsequent damage patterns. Results indicate differences in tool use across an ancient landscape. These differences correlate with complimentary data sets from across Elandsfontein. This further supports this method in the investigation of tool use in Paleolithic contexts. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-BCS- 1620907).

Cite this Record

Spatial Variation in Tool Use: Acheulean Forager Patterning at Elandsfontein, South Africa. Ella Beaudoin, David R. Braun, Jonathan Reeves. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443450)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 9.58; min lat: -35.461 ; max long: 57.041; max lat: 4.565 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22494