Hunting with Howiesons Poort segments: pilot experimental study and the functional interpretation of archaeological tools

Marlize Lombard, Justin Pargeter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    For many decades the use of backed pieces from the Howiesons Poort, between about 70 ka and 55 ka ago, in South Africa has been a point of discussion. Recently direct evidence has been provided to associate these tools with Middle Stone Age hunting strategies. Yet, whether they were used to tip hunting weapons or as barbs remained an open question. In this paper we introduce a set of pilot experiments designed to test the effectiveness of Howiesons Poort segments, the type fossils of the industry, hafted in four different configurations as tips for hunting weapons. It is shown that the morphological type can be used successfully in this way. We present the results of a macrofracture analysis conducted on the experimental tools and compare these to results obtained from three Howiesons Poort backed tool samples. By correlating experimental outcomes, macrofracture data and the interpretation of micro-residue distribution patterns, we provide some insight into the functional variables that might be associated with Howiesons Poort segments.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2523-2531
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
    Volume35
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 2008

    Keywords

    • Experimental archaeology
    • Howiesons Poort
    • Hunting behaviour
    • Klasies River Cave
    • Middle Stone Age
    • Sibudu Cave
    • Umhlatuzana

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Archaeology
    • Archaeology

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