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Title: "Grammars of Action" and Stone Flaking Design Space
Contributor(s): Moore, Mark  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2010
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Abstract: Human infants and primates use similar strategies to organize utterances and motor actions. These strategies, called "grammars of action," are initially similar followed by an ontogenetic divergence in children that leads to a separation of complex linguistic and action grammars. Thus, more complex grammars arose after the emergence of the hominin lineage. Stone tools are by-products of action grammars that track the evolutionary history of hominin cognition, and this study develops a model of the essential motor actions of stoneworking interpretable in action grammar terms. The model shows that controlled flaking is achieved through integral sets of geometrical identifications and motor actions collectively referred to as the "flake unit." The internal structure of the flake unit was elaborated early in technological evolution and later trends involved combining flake units in more complex ways. Application of the model to the archaeological record suggests that the most complex action grammars arose after 270 kya, although significant epistemological issues in stone artifact studies prevent a more nuanced interpretation.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Cognition, p. 13-43
Publisher: University Press of Colorado
Place of Publication: Boulder, United States of America
ISBN: 1607320304
Field of Research (FOR): 210199 Archaeology not elsewhere classified
210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
210105 Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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