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An experimental approach to understanding the ‘eolithic’ problem: cultural cognition and the perception of plausibly anthropic artifacts

Ellen, Roy F., Muthana, Angela (2013) An experimental approach to understanding the ‘eolithic’ problem: cultural cognition and the perception of plausibly anthropic artifacts. Lithic Technology, 38 (2). pp. 109-123. ISSN 0197-7261. (doi:10.1179/0197726113Z.00000000013) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/0197726113Z.00000000013

Abstract

The Eolithic controversy dominated debate about the earliest human tools between approximately 1880 and 1930, and raised acutely the difficulties of identifying stone that had been selected and modified for human or protohuman use. Similar issues in distinguishing artifacts from geofacts have persisted, making this more than a matter of arcane historical interest. This paper examines the thinking behind the claims made by British “eolithophiles” by using approaches developed in the study of cultural cognition. We report on a series of experiments conducted on non-artifactual material derived from the classic Kentish eolith-bearing deposits, and on specimens labeled “eoliths” in the Maidstone Museum.We demonstrate how the sorting behavior of research subjects provides evidence of “form selection” and perceptual pattern-recognition influenced by cultural experience, and how engaging interactively with the material indicates the importance of bodily actions in “thinking through” the functionality of objects.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1179/0197726113Z.00000000013
Uncontrolled keywords: Eoliths, cultural cognition, perception experiments, history of science
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Social and Cultural Anthropology
Depositing User: Roy Ellen
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 05:46 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 10:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/34416 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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