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Wood sharpens stone: Boomerangs used to retouch lithic tools


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

A new study into the multipurpose uses of boomerangs has highlighted how the hardwood objects were used to shape the edges of stone tools used by Australian Indigenous communities.

The research, published in PLOS ONE, demonstrated how boomerangs could function as lithic (or stone) tool retouchers by investigating the use-wear generated on the boomerangs' surfaces during retouching activities.

It was found that these use-wear impacts on boomerangs were comparable to those observed on Paleolithic bone retouching tools, which date back to more than 200,000 years ago.

The research adds to a previous study into boomerang uses led by the same team from Griffith University's Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, but also highlights the broader topic of the multipurpose application of many Indigenous tools throughout Australia.

https://phys.org/news/2022-08-wood-sharpens-stone-boomerangs-retouch.html

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?

Related:

Boomerangs return with greater insights into ample uses

https://phys.org/news/2021-04-boomerangs-greater-insights-ample.html

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Wooden mallets were used in all aspects of lithic production where antler wasn't available so this is not surprising.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Still Waters said:

A new study into the multipurpose uses of boomerangs has highlighted how the hardwood objects were used to shape the edges of stone tools used by Australian Indigenous communities.

The research, published in PLOS ONE, demonstrated how boomerangs could function as lithic (or stone) tool retouchers by investigating the use-wear generated on the boomerangs' surfaces during retouching activities.

It was found that these use-wear impacts on boomerangs were comparable to those observed on Paleolithic bone retouching tools, which date back to more than 200,000 years ago.

The research adds to a previous study into boomerang uses led by the same team from Griffith University's Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, but also highlights the broader topic of the multipurpose application of many Indigenous tools throughout Australia.

https://phys.org/news/2022-08-wood-sharpens-stone-boomerangs-retouch.html

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?

Related:

Boomerangs return with greater insights into ample uses

https://phys.org/news/2021-04-boomerangs-greater-insights-ample.html

To elaborate on Piney's well-informed input: The lithic materials involved and the stage(s) of reduction can have a significant influence on the material type of the "hammer" utilized. In the course of my personal and class-related work, quite a variety of materials are utilized.

Examples: Beyond primary (gross) reduction, lithic resources such as obsidian will simply, uncontrollably shatter with the application of a "hard" hammerstone (eg basalt). Thus the need, especially for retouch, to utilize a "soft" hammer such as antler or a hardwood. As a counterpoint, such materials as basalt or even heat-treated Tongue River silica generally require the utilization of hard hammers. There are many other examples of lithic materials and applicable, useful hammer materials.

As a bit of a bottom line: The traditional utilization of lithic materials and the application of suitable modification tools can be a quite complex formula, which has been successfully utilized by members of the genus Homo for as much as 3.3 million years and, prior to the comparatively recent utilization of metals, has been a primary and valuable technology. A tribute to the knowledge and resourcefulness of our predecessors.

Edit: Punctuation.

 

Edited by Swede
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2 hours ago, Swede said:

To elaborate on Piney's well-informed input: The lithic materials involved and the stage(s) of reduction can have a significant influence on the material type of the "hammer" utilized. In the course of my personal and class-related work, quite a variety of materials are utilized.

Examples: Beyond primary (gross) reduction, lithic resources such as obsidian will simply, uncontrollably shatter with the application of a "hard" hammerstone (eg basalt). Thus the need, especially for retouch, to utilize a "soft" hammer such as antler or a hardwood. As a counterpoint, such materials as basalt or even heat-treated Tongue River silica generally require the utilization of hard hammers. There are many other examples of lithic materials and applicable, useful hammer materials.

As a bit of a bottom line: The traditional utilization of lithic materials and the application of suitable modification tools can be a quite complex formula, which has been successfully utilized by members of the genus Homo for as much as 3.3 million years and, prior to the comparatively recent utilization of metals, has been a primary and valuable technology. A tribute to the knowledge and resourcefulness of our predecessors.

Edit: Punctuation.

 

Jack Cresson has shown "soft" hammers were the most efficient with Salem cuesta and Cohansey quartzite but not argillite. When I work argillite I use my Eswing. ^_^

Of course his outdoor lab looks like somebody nuked a quarry so I was always bugging him for hard to find materials.  :o

 

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56 minutes ago, Piney said:

Jack Cresson has shown "soft" hammers were the most efficient with Salem cuesta and Cohansey quartzite but not argillite. When I work argillite I use my Eswing. ^_^

Of course his outdoor lab looks like somebody nuked a quarry so I was always bugging him for hard to find materials.  :o

 

What is an Eswing?

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1 hour ago, joc said:

What is an Eswing?

Rock hammer.

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10 hours ago, Piney said:

Jack Cresson has shown "soft" hammers were the most efficient with Salem cuesta and Cohansey quartzite but not argillite. When I work argillite I use my Eswing. ^_^

Of course his outdoor lab looks like somebody nuked a quarry so I was always bugging him for hard to find materials.  :o

 

Chuckle! Ah, yes, the traditional Estwing. Surprisingly, this valuable artifact is rarely recovered from pre-early 20th century sites (!).

.

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22 minutes ago, Swede said:

Chuckle! Ah, yes, the traditional Estwing. Surprisingly, this valuable artifact is rarely recovered from pre-early 20th century sites (!).

.

Mine was signed by Tony Bonofiglio and Kenny Lacovara......and I wash and wax it once a week. :wub:

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