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Old stones' song: Use-wear experiments and analysis of the Oldowan quartz and quartzite assemblage from Kanjera South (Kenya)

Lemorini, C, Plummer, TW, Braun, DR, Crittenden, AN, Ditchfield, PW, Bishop, LC, Hertel, F, Oliver, JS, Marlowe, FW, Schoeninger, MJ and Potts, R (2014) Old stones' song: Use-wear experiments and analysis of the Oldowan quartz and quartzite assemblage from Kanjera South (Kenya). JOURNAL OF HUMAN EVOLUTION, 72. pp. 10-25. ISSN 0047-2484

Lemorini et al 2014 submitted.pdf - Accepted Version

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Evidence of Oldowan tools by w2.6 million years ago (Ma) may signal a major adaptive shift in hominin
evolution. While tool-dependent butchery of large mammals was important by at least 2.0 Ma, the use of
artifacts for tasks other than faunal processing has been difficult to diagnose. Here we report on use-wear
analysis ofw2.0 Ma quartz and quartzite artifacts from Kanjera South, Kenya. A use-wear framework that
links processing of specific materials and tool motions to their resultant use-wear patterns was developed.
A blind test was then carried out to assess and improve the efficacy of this experimental use-wear
framework, which was then applied to the analysis of 62 Oldowan artifacts from Kanjera South. Usewear
on a total of 23 artifact edges was attributed to the processing of specific materials. Use-wear on
seven edges (30%) was attributed to animal tissue processing,corroborating zooarchaeological evidence
for butchery at the site. Use-wear on 16 edges (70%)was attributed to the processing of plant tissues,
including wood, grit-covered plant tissues that we interpret asunderground storage organs (USOs), and
stems of grass or sedges. These results expand our knowledge of the suite of behaviours carried out in the
vicinity of Kanjera South to include the processing of materials that would be ‘invisible’ using standard
archaeological methods. Wood cutting and scraping may represent the production and/or maintenance
of wooden tools. Use-wear related to USO processing extends the archaeological evidence for hominin acquisition and consumption of this resource by over 1.5 Ma. Cutting of grasses, sedges or reeds may be related to a subsistence task (e.g., grass seed harvesting, cutting out papyrus culm for consumption) and/or a non-subsistence related task (e.g., production of ‘twine,’ simple carrying devices, or bedding). These results highlight the adaptive significance of lithic technology for hominins at Kanjera.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Human Evolution. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Human Evolution, vol.72, July 2014, pp.10-25, available at:http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.03.002
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0603 Evolutionary Biology, 1601 Anthropology, 2101 Archaeology
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2015 11:54
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 14:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.03.002
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/313
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