Integrating mechanical and ergonomic research within functional and morphological analyses of lithic cutting technology: key principles and future experimental directions

Key, Alastair J. M. (2016) Integrating mechanical and ergonomic research within functional and morphological analyses of lithic cutting technology: key principles and future experimental directions. Ethnoarchaeology, 8 (1). ISSN 1944-2890. E-ISSN 1944-2904. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/19442890.2016.1150626) (Full text available)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19442890.2016.1150626

Abstract

The functional value of a stone tool is principally in its ability to cut, split, or otherwise deform material. The relative efficiency with which stone tools undertake cutting processes has been a point of interest to lithic archaeologists for decades, with many linking aspects of tool morphology to functional performance. Many of the questions asked by stone tool research are, however, pertinent to other disciplines. This includes mechanical engineering and ergonomic sciences where there is a substantial amount of research dedicated to understanding the mechanics of cutting and the influence exerted by tool-form attributes during use. These investigations therefore have valuable insights for lithic archaeology and our understanding of the variables that would have been influencing stone tool use in past populations. Here, the value of mechanical and ergonomic research to lithic archaeology is analyzed, key morphological and mechanical principles central to the determination of a stone tool’s cutting efficiency are reviewed, and the need for future experiments that investigate these principles within archaeological contexts is highlighted.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Stone tool, efficiency, cutting, morphology, fracture mechanics, experiment
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Alastair Key
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2016 10:01 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:49 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/53980 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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