Analytical approaches to the manufacture and use of bone artifacts in prehistory
Mesolithic and Neolithic bone artifacts were analyzed with the aim of contributing knowledge regarding technological achievements, food procurement and processing, personal adornment and other aspects of social behavior. Part I presents the methodology involving the integration of data obtained through experimental replication, surface traces, metric analysis, ethnographic analogy, and archaeological context. Replicative experiments were performed to reconstruct manufacturing techniques and test functional hypotheses. Surficial topography was examined using a scanning electron microscope for the identification of manufacturing and use traces. Five key measurements were devised for evaluating gross morphology and working surfaces of artifacts. Where applicable, ethnographic analogy was employed as a source for hypotheses about artifact function. Archaeological context was studied to reveal distributional and associational patterns that might contribute evidence pertaining to the use of bone artifacts and their temporal development. Emphasis was placed on comparing data derived from the various methods to determine whether the y supported or refuted one another. Interpretations were formulated on the basis of documented patterns rather than isolated events and, whenever possible, from multiple analytical techniques. Part II demonstrates the general applicability of these methodological approaches through three case studies selected to maximize diversity of cultural affiliation, environmental conditions, temporal duration, preservational factors, and sample size. The first case study is a large, well-preserved collection from the Mogollon-Pueblo village of Point of Pines in the American Southwest. The assemblage is derived from a settlement of brief duration situated in a prairie environment. The second is a medium-sized collection from Tell Abu Hureyra in northern Syria with a long sequence from the Mesolithic through Ceramic Neolithic. The third case study consists of two small samples from Ulu Leang and Leang Burung, rock shelters in Indonesia which offer an interesting contrast in settlement t ype and environment from the two open air sites.