Edge angle as a variably influential factor in flake cutting efficiency: An experimental investigation of its relationship with tool size and loading

Key, Alastair J. M., Lycett, Stephen J. (2015) Edge angle as a variably influential factor in flake cutting efficiency: An experimental investigation of its relationship with tool size and loading. Archaeometry, 57 (5). pp. 911-927. ISSN 0003-813X. E-ISSN 1475-4754. (doi:10.1111/arcm.12140) (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)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/arcm.12140

Abstract

Simple flake cutting tools were utilized across broad chronological and geographical ranges during prehistory. Fundamental to their functional utility is the presence of a relatively acute working edge. The acuteness of this ‘edge angle’ is widely hypothesized to be a primary determinant of cutting efficiency and, subsequently, of potential consequence to prehistoric peoples. However, the influence of the cutting edge angle in flake tools on the ability (efficiency) of tool users to cut through objects has not been empirically investigated under explicitly stated experimental conditions. Moreover, no consideration has been given to whether this relationship is dependent upon the size of the tool. Here, the influence that edge angle exerts on human stone tool users is examined experimentally in terms of efficiency during a cutting task, while also considering the relationship between edge angle, loading (i.e., the force applied) and overall flake size. The results demonstrate that there is a highly significant relationship between more acute working edges and increased cutting efficiency in the smallest flake tools tested. Above a certain flake-size threshold, however, the working edge angle has no influence on cutting efficiency because larger flakes appear to facilitate the application of greater working loads by tool users. These results have important implications for potential flake selection criteria by prehistoric peoples, especially in relation to utility, function and the changing effects of edge angle through a sequence of retouch.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/arcm.12140
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: A.J.M. Key
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2015 13:33 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:00 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/50477 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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