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Title: Ballistically anomalous stone projectile points in Australia
Contributor(s): Newman, Kimberlee  (author); Moore, Mark  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.01.023
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Abstract: The emergence of stone-tipped projectile weaponry was an important event in hominin evolution. A common archaeological approach to identifying projectile weapons is to extrapolate from optimal values of ballistically-relevant attributes as determined from ethnographic North American weapons and modern experiments. Among the most significant of these attributes is "tip cross-sectional area" (TCSA) because it determines a point's efficiency in penetrating an animal. The warranting argument for projecting these data onto prehistoric artefact's is that past "research and development" necessarily led to stone projectiles with optimal TCSA values for a given delivery system. However, our test of this warranting argument, involving analysis of 132 hafted ethnographic Australian stone projectile points and 102 hafted knives, demonstrates that Aborigines did not optimize TCSA values, thus offering a challenge to TCSA-based narratives about the first appearance of projectile weaponry. This illustrates the difficulty of inferring ancient stone workers' design intentions from narrowly-defined optimal values. Instead, tool designs should be considered in the context of the reduction sequences that produced them and the dynamics of transmission of those reduction sequences across generations.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Grant Details: ARC/DP1096558
Source of Publication: Journal of Archaeological Science, 40(6), p. 2614-2620
Publisher: Academic Press
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1095-9238
Field of Research (FOR): 210102 Archaeological Science
210105 Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified
970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
950503 Understanding Australias Past
950501 Understanding Africas Past
950502 Understanding Asias Past
950504 Understanding Europes Past
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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