Can use-wear be used to identify tuber processing on siliceous stone? An experimental study from Australia

06th November 2013

figure 10Laressa Berehowyj

Although use-wear and residue analysis on flaked stone tools has shed some light on plant processing, it has been argued that specific patterns of use-wear are difficult to identify on the coarse grained raw materials typically used for stone artefact production in Australia.
This experimental study evaluates whether processing raw tubers creates an identifiable, characteristic wear on silcrete, chert, chalcedony and indurated mudstone. The results indicate that use-wear is indeed formed after prolonged tool use, though further studies are required to determine if such wear is diagnostic and, in turn, whether it can be identified archaeologically. These preliminary findings have important implications for studies of tuber use, landscape management and subsistence in prehistoric Australia and elsewhere.

Figure caption:  Starch grains and plant fibres characteristic of tuber processing under polarised light: (a) sweet potato; (b) taro; and (c) brushed potato (published in Australian Archaeology 77:17).

 

Berehowyj, L.
Can use-wear be used to identify tuber processing on siliceous stone? An experimental study from Australia
Dec 2013
77
9–19
Article
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