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Quantifying Oldowan Stone Tool Production at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Reti, Jay S Petraglia, Michael D. (editor)

PLoS ONE, 2016, Vol.11(1) [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    Quantifying Oldowan Stone Tool Production at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
  • Autor: Reti, Jay S
  • Petraglia, Michael D. (editor)
  • Assuntos: Research Article ; Social Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Physical Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Earth Sciences ; Social Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Biology And Life Sciences
  • É parte de: PLoS ONE, 2016, Vol.11(1)
  • Descrição: Recent research suggests that variation exists among and between Oldowan stone tool assemblages. Oldowan variation might represent differential constraints on raw materials used to produce these stone implements. Alternatively, variation among Oldowan assemblages could represent different methods that Oldowan producing hominins utilized to produce these lithic implements. Identifying differential patterns of stone tool production within the Oldowan has implications for assessing how stone tool technology evolved, how traditions of lithic production might have been culturally transmitted, and for defining the timing and scope of these evolutionary events. At present there is no null model to predict what morphological variation in the Oldowan should look like. Without such a model, quantifying whether Oldowan assemblages vary due to raw material constraints or whether they vary due to differences in production technique is not possible. This research establishes a null model for Oldowan lithic artifact morphological variation. To establish these expectations this research 1) models the expected range of variation through large scale reduction experiments, 2) develops an algorithm to categorize archaeological flakes based on how they are produced, and 3) statistically assesses the methods of production behavior used by Oldowan producing hominins at the site of DK from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania via the experimental model. Results indicate that a subset of quartzite flakes deviate from the null expectations in a manner that demonstrates efficiency in flake manufacture, while some basalt flakes deviate from null expectations in a manner that demonstrates inefficiency in flake manufacture. The simultaneous presence of efficiency in stone tool production for one raw material (quartzite) and inefficiency in stone tool production for another raw material (basalt) suggests that Oldowan producing hominins at DK were able to mediate the economic costs associated with stone tool procurement by utilizing high-cost materials more efficiently than is expected and low-cost materials in an inefficient manner.

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