Reference : Domestic tools, hafting, and the evolution of technology: The Upper Palaeolithic of H...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Poster
Arts & humanities : Archaeology
Domestic tools, hafting, and the evolution of technology: The Upper Palaeolithic of Hohle Fels as a case study
Taipale, Noora mailto [Université de Liège > Département des sciences historiques > Archéologie préhistorique >]
Conard, Nicholas J. [University of Tübingen > Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology > > >]
Rots, Veerle mailto [Université de Liège > Département des sciences historiques > Archéologie préhistorique >]
6th Annual Meeting of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution
from 14-09-2016 to 18-09-2016
European Society for the study of Human Evolution
Alcalá de Henares
[en] functional analysis ; hafting ; domestic tools ; Gravettian ; Magdalenian ; radiolarite ; chert
[en] Innovations relevant to human evolution often involve subsistence technology, which can affect the success of individual groups, and Homo sapiens in general. However, Palaeolithic technologies include more than just hunting tools, and a proper understanding of hunter-gatherer ways of living requires knowledge of the organisation of diverse tasks and activities, including the manufacture and maintenance of tools and other equipment. One central aspect of technological evolution is the development of tool hafting [1, 2], which is not only restricted to hunting and gathering implements, but also affects so-called domestic tool categories.

We present the results of an on-going project that focuses on hafting and use of stone tools in the Upper Palaeolithic through detailed functional analysis of selected assemblages from European key sites (Hohle Fels, Abri Pataud, Maisières-Canal), which have yielded rich lithic and organic assemblages from secure chronological contexts. Here the focus is on classic Upper Palaeolithic tool categories, such as endscrapers and burins, from the Gravettian and Magdalenian levels of the cave site Hohle Fels (Germany) [3, 4]. We suggest that domestic tools can offer a valuable source material, since for most of them, hafting is not a necessity as it is for spear and arrow tips. An increase in hafting implies an increase in time investment, which has implications for task organisation and specialisation.

The Hohle Fels assemblage offers an interesting case study for temporal changes (or continuity) in the frequency and techniques of tool hafting. The projectile technology shows a clear shift from the Gravettian to the Magadalenian, marked by the introduction of a microlithic technology (backed bladelets). For other tool categories, the changes seem more subtle. Our goal is to characterise the tools used in manufacture and maintenance tasks, and to evaluate whether the Gravettian to Magdalenian transition witnesses changes in tool design and use that go beyond hunting equipment. The observed differences between tool classes and time periods are explained with a reference to details of tool use, such as the rate of edge wear development and stone tool exhaustion, as well as shifts in treatment of organic raw materials. The results suggest that domestic tools can aid in understanding long-term technological evolution, and create a baseline against which we can (re)assess the role of shifts observed in technologies that are more susceptible to morphological change, such as projectiles.

References: [1] Rots, V., 2013. Insights into early Middle Palaeolithic tool use and hafting in Western Europe: The functional analysis of level IIa of the early Middle Palaeolithic site of Biache-Saint-Vaast (France). J. Archaeol. Sci. 40, 497–506. [2] Barham, L., 2013. From Hand to Handle: The First Industrial Revolution. Oxford University Press, Oxford. [3] Conard, N. J., Bolus, M., 2003. Radiocarbon dating the appearance of modern humans and timing of cultural innovations in Europe: New results and new challenges. J. Hum. Evol. 44, 331–371. [4] Taller, A., Bolus, M., Conard, N. J., 2014. The Magdalenian of Hohle Fels Cave and the Resettlement of the Swabian Jura after the LGM. In: Otte, M., Le Brun-Ricalens, F. (Eds.), Modes de contacts et de déplacements au Paléolithique eurasiatique: Actes du Colloque international de la commission 8 (Paléolithique supérieur) de l'UISPP, Université de Liège, 28–31 mai 2012. Centre National de Recherche Archéologique, Luxembourg.
European Research Council
FP7 ; 312283 - EVO-HAFT - Evolution of stone tool hafting in the Palaeolithic

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