The use of bone as raw material for implements is documented since the Early Pleistocene. Throughout the Early and Middle Pleistocene bone tool shaping was done by percussion flaking, the same technique used for knapping stone artifacts, although bone shaping was rare compared to stone tool flaking. Until recently the generally accepted idea was that early bone technology was essentially immediate and expedient, based on single-stage operations, using available bone fragments of large to medium size animals. Only Upper Paleolithic bone tools would involve several stages of manufacture with clear evidence of primary flaking or breaking of bone to produce the kind of fragments required for different kinds of tools. Our technological and taphonomic analysis of the bone assemblage of Castel di Guido, a Middle Pleistocene site in Italy, now dated by 40Ar/39Ar to about 400 ka, shows that this general idea is inexact. In spite of the fact that the number of bone bifaces at the site had been largely overestimated in previous publications, the number of verified, human-made bone tools is 98. This is the highest number of flaked bone tools made by pre-modern hominids published so far. Moreover the Castel di Guido bone assemblage is characterized by systematic production of standardized blanks (elephant diaphysis fragments) and clear diversity of tool types. Bone smoothers and intermediate pieces prove that some features of Aurignacian technology have roots that go beyond the late Mousterian, back to the Middle Pleistocene. Clearly the Castel di Guido hominids had done the first step in the process of increasing complexity of bone technology. We discuss the reasons why this innovation was not developed. The analysis of the lithic industry is done for comparison with the bone industry.

Elephant bones for the Middle Pleistocene toolmaker

Boschian G.
Secondo
;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The use of bone as raw material for implements is documented since the Early Pleistocene. Throughout the Early and Middle Pleistocene bone tool shaping was done by percussion flaking, the same technique used for knapping stone artifacts, although bone shaping was rare compared to stone tool flaking. Until recently the generally accepted idea was that early bone technology was essentially immediate and expedient, based on single-stage operations, using available bone fragments of large to medium size animals. Only Upper Paleolithic bone tools would involve several stages of manufacture with clear evidence of primary flaking or breaking of bone to produce the kind of fragments required for different kinds of tools. Our technological and taphonomic analysis of the bone assemblage of Castel di Guido, a Middle Pleistocene site in Italy, now dated by 40Ar/39Ar to about 400 ka, shows that this general idea is inexact. In spite of the fact that the number of bone bifaces at the site had been largely overestimated in previous publications, the number of verified, human-made bone tools is 98. This is the highest number of flaked bone tools made by pre-modern hominids published so far. Moreover the Castel di Guido bone assemblage is characterized by systematic production of standardized blanks (elephant diaphysis fragments) and clear diversity of tool types. Bone smoothers and intermediate pieces prove that some features of Aurignacian technology have roots that go beyond the late Mousterian, back to the Middle Pleistocene. Clearly the Castel di Guido hominids had done the first step in the process of increasing complexity of bone technology. We discuss the reasons why this innovation was not developed. The analysis of the lithic industry is done for comparison with the bone industry.
2021
Villa, P.; Boschian, G.; Pollarolo, L.; Sacca, D.; Marra, F.; Nomade, S.; Pereira, A.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1123888
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 3
  • Scopus 20
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 16
social impact