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Evolution of bow-arrow technology.

Edinborough, K.S.A.; (2005) Evolution of bow-arrow technology. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines the development of bow-arrow technology in terms of modem evolutionary theory. Previous approaches that propose functional-adaptive technological trajectories are critiqued. Different theoretical approaches towards technology and associated units of analysis are examined. Behavioural ecology, evolutionary archaeology, and dual inheritance theory are shown to hold most promise for explaining trait-lineages in a given technological tradition. Previous approaches to bow-arrow technology are analysed, and an evolutionary archaeological methodology appropriate for examining lithic armatures is presented. Environment, historical contingency, selection, drift, population dynamics and social learning mechanisms are seen as key complex factors requiring case by case examination. An evolutionary case study with nine temporally, geographically, and culturally related stratigraphic phases containing a total of 3600 complete lithic armatures from the south Scandinavian middle Mesolithic (c. 6600-5400 BC) is presented. The phases are described in terms of associated fine-grained archaeological data and previous interpretations. A Bayesian chronological framework is constructed for the case study, using modelling facilities in the OxCal calibration package. This method time-steps and calculates relative occupation durations of point bearing phases in terms of available archaeological and radiometric data. The chronological model covers the culture-historical periods termed Blak, Kongemose and Early Ertebolle phases. The validity of previous typological interpretations of projectile point sequences is questioned in light of these results. The nine time-stepped lithic armature assemblages are then analysed to describe inter- and intra-site point trait variation. A linked series of descriptive and multivariate statistical techniques identify key morphological attributes that summarise trait variation within and between phases. Variation is graphically represented and related to different social learning populations, reduction strategies, and engineering constraints. A remarkably long-term homogenous pattern of complex projectile point manufacture is found for the Kongemose phases, compared to the temporally bracketing Blak and Ertebolle phases. Faunal, climatic, and population level factors are then modelled to account for variation and stability of the case study's armature traits. Faunal data from the Tagerup and Segebro sites, spanning the case study period, are examined for possible diet breadth changes, in relation to point-trait variation. No functional relationship is found between point-shape and potential target-prey. A population model is then constructed in OxCal using all published south Scandinavian radiometric data from the final Maglemose to the final Ertebolle cultural phases. A simple model of landmass reduction, forestation cover and mammalian population density levels demonstrates reduced land mass alone would not significantly affect human population levels - even with relatively high human population densities. Holocene 5180 and A14C data is used as a proxy for contemporaneous climatic fluctuations. These proxies are plotted and superimposed onto the population graph. A correlation between climate change, population fluctuation, and projectile point technology is found. As changes in point morphology and lithic reduction strategies coincide with apparent regional drops in population, drift processes may account for some variation in point-shape.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Evolution of bow-arrow technology.
Identifier: PQ ETD:591962
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1444653
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