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Kinetics of stone tool production among novice and expert tool makers

Williams-Hatala, Erin Marie, Hatala, Kevin G., Key, Alastair J. M., Dunmore, Christopher J., Kasper, Margaret, Gordon, McKenzie, Kivell, Tracy L. (2020) Kinetics of stone tool production among novice and expert tool makers. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, . Article Number e24159. ISSN 0002-9483. (doi:10.1002/ajpa.24159) (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) (KAR id:83768)

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
https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24159

Abstract

Objectives

As is the case among many complex motor tasks that require prolonged practice before achieving expertise, aspects of the biomechanics of knapping vary according to the relative experience/skill level of the practitioner. In archaeological experiments focused on the production of Plio‐Pleistocene stone tools, these skill‐mediated biomechanical differences have bearings on experimental design, the interpretation of results, and lithic assemblage analysis. A robust body of work exists on variation in kinematic patterns across skill levels but less is known about potential kinetic differences. The current study was undertaken to better understand kinetic patterns observed across skill levels during “Oldowan,” freehand stone tool production.

Materials and Methods

Manual pressure data were collected from 23 novice and 9 expert stone tool makers during the production of simple stone flakes using direct hard hammer percussion.

Results

Results show that expert tool makers experienced significantly lower cumulative pressure magnitudes and pressure–time integral magnitudes compared with novices. In expert knappers, digits I and II experienced similarly high pressures (both peak pressure and pressure–time integrals) and low variability in pressure relative to digits III–V. Novices, in contrast, tended to hold hammerstones such that pressure patterns were similar across digits II–V, and they showed low variability on digit I only.

Discussion

The similar and consistent emphasis of the thumb by both skill groups indicates the importance of this digit in stabilizing the hammerstone. The emphasis placed on digit II is exclusive to expert knappers, and so this digit may offer osteological signals diagnostic of habitual expert tool production.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ajpa.24159
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Alastair Key
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2020 15:24 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:15 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/83768 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Key, Alastair J. M.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5576-1200
Dunmore, Christopher J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8634-9777
Kivell, Tracy L.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5087-0897
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