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Identifying handedness at knapping; an analysis of the scatter pattern of lithic remains

Bargallo, A; Mosquera, M; Lorenzo, C; (2018) Identifying handedness at knapping; an analysis of the scatter pattern of lithic remains. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences , 10 (3) pp. 587-598. 10.1007/s12520-016-0378-0. Green open access

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Abstract

Determining hand laterality during human evolution is important in order to identify brain hemispheric lateralization for motor tasks and, indirectly, to gain information on the complex cognitive functions of the human brain. In this paper, we present a new method for inferring handedness from lithic evidence. The study is based on an analysis of the scatter patterns of lithic remains from stone-knapping episodes. An experimental programme was carried out by 14 knappers (eight right-handed and six left-handed), ranging from individuals that had never even struck two pebbles together to individuals who were quite familiar with prehistoric tools and had some degree of practice. The results of the experiment show that the material scatter patterns of right- and left-handed knappers at group level are different, but they do overlap at certain intervals. At the individual level, the probability of falsely ascribing left- and right-handedness has also been estimated. In addition, we have adapted this method to be applied to the archaeological record. In this case, only well-preserved knapping events with no post-depositional alterations can be used to assign left- or right-handed knappers, with the former being more reliably detected than the latter.

Type: Article
Title: Identifying handedness at knapping; an analysis of the scatter pattern of lithic remains
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s12520-016-0378-0
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-016-0378-0
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Experimental archaeology, Stone knapping, Handedness, Scatter patterns, Density maps
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062721
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