English
 
Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse

Item

ITEM ACTIONSEXPORT

Released

Journal Article

When lithics hit bones: Evaluating the potential of a multifaceted experimental protocol to illuminate Middle Palaeolithic weapon technology

MPS-Authors
/persons/resource/persons212712

Smith,  Geoff M.
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons133087

Ruebens,  Karen
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (public)
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available
Citation

Smith, G. M., Noack, E. S., Behrens, N. M., Ruebens, K., Street, M., Iovita, R., et al. (2020). When lithics hit bones: Evaluating the potential of a multifaceted experimental protocol to illuminate Middle Palaeolithic weapon technology. Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology, 3, 126-156. doi:10.1007/s41982-020-00053-6.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-17BF-8
Abstract
Recent zooarchaeological and isotope analyses have largely settled the debate surrounding Neanderthal hunting capacities, repeatedly demonstrating their successful acquisition of large ungulates. Nevertheless, the functional identification of individual tools as hunting weapons remains a methodological challenge. In-depth studies have focussed mainly on small subsets of lithic artefacts from selected assemblages assessing features of breakage patterns, retouch, shape and use wear. Studies focussing on associated hunting lesions are rarer and often focus on reconstructing very specific bone surface marks encountered in the archaeological record. This study aims to add to our understanding of the formation and characteristics of projectile impact marks (PIMs) on bone through a series of highly monitored, replicative experiments, using thrusting and throwing spears with replica Levallois points into two wild pig carcasses. In total, 152 shots were made, and for each a series of attributes was recorded, including velocity and location of impact. Subsequent quantitative analyses focussed on understanding the various factors underlying the formation of different types of projectile impact marks. These experiments demonstrate that PIM formation results from the properties of both the impacting projectile and bone element. PIMs can signal impacts caused by different delivery methods but only on some parts of the skeleton. These results are contextualised in relation to the occurrence and recognition of Palaeolithic PIMs and patterns of Neanderthal behaviour. These experiments are only a first step in improving the recognition of these signatures in the archaeological record and providing better insights into understanding of the mechanisms of Neanderthal hunting.