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Special Lecture: Stone Artefacts

by klarich — last modified April 13, 2009 10:30 AM
What Special Lecture
When April 20, 2009
from 12:00 pm to 01:00 pm
Where Cotsen Seminar Room (Fowler A222)
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Through the Eye of the Eyes of the Beholder: Stone Artefact Normative Types and Continuous Variability


Simon Holdaway, Associate Professor (Archaeology) and Assistant Dean (IT), The University of Auckland

Debates about stone artifacts often diverge over whether they should be considered as discrete entities or whether it is better to consider then as coming from continuous arrays of variability. While to use Michael Shott’s words, these debates have “flared briefly then languished unresolved for years before passing into oblivion”, they reoccur regularly in the archaeological literature. A debate that remains unresolved suggests a fundamental flaw in its formulation. Here an alternative reading of stone artifact variability is suggested based on Australian ethnography and archaeology. Indigenous Australians were some of the last people to use stone artifacts. Their experience provides a useful means to assess the outcome of archaeological measures of stone artifact variability. Here ethnographic records are assessed for four areas of stone artifact variability: retouch, flake use, core reduction and post reduction selection. Results are used to critique current approaches to stone artifact variability assessment.



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