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A new method for the quantitative analysis of cutmark micromorphology

Bello, SM; Soligo, C; (2008) A new method for the quantitative analysis of cutmark micromorphology. J ARCHAEOL SCI , 35 (6) 1542 - 1552. 10.1016/j.jas.2007.10.018.

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Abstract

Cutmarks found on the fossilised bones of butchered animals provide direct evidence for the procurement of meat through technological means. As such, they hold some of the oldest available information on cognitive ability and behaviour in human evolution. Here we present a new method that allows a three-dimensional reconstruction of cutmark morphology and the quantification of profile parameters. We have tested this new technique on cutmarks that were experimentally inflicted on a pig rib using a steel knife and an un-retouched flint flake at different angles. The method allows for the cross-sectional shape, the sharpness and depths of the resulting cutmarks to be quantified. The data show that knife mark sections are characterised by a V-shape or root-shape depending on the inclination of the knife. Cutmarks produced with the flint flake were less clearly defined and generally less sharp than those produced by the knife. We discuss the method's potential to provide new information on butchery technique and cognitive abilities developed by the human lineage, from the earliest tool-using hominins through to modem Homo sapiens. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:A new method for the quantitative analysis of cutmark micromorphology
DOI:10.1016/j.jas.2007.10.018
Keywords:hominins, cutmarks, three-dimensional analysis, butchery techniques, SCANNING ELECTRON-MICROSCOPY, CARNIVORE TOOTH MARKS, CUT-MARKS, OLDUVAI GORGE, PERCUSSION MARKS, BONE SURFACES, ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES, STONE TOOLS, HOMINID, TANZANIA
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology

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