Thesis abstract ‘Investigating Maintenance and Discard Patterns for Middle to Late Magdalenian Antler Projectile Points: Inter-Site and Inter-Regional Comparisons’

03rd May 2014

Michelle C. Langley

PhD, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, September 2013

Projectile points manufactured from antler, bone, ivory and horn were a significant component of the Pleistocene hunter-gatherer’s weapons tool-kit. While this situation appears to have been particularly the case for Upper Palaeolithic Europe, where thousands of implements from Aurignacian to Azilian contexts have been recovered, elements of osseous technologies are increasingly being identified in Africa, Asia, Australia and North America. Projectile weaponry tipped with osseous raw materials therefore constitute a major dataset for the investigation of technological, subsistence and social aspects of various and numerous Pleistocene populations. Having once been described as ‘impossible to evaluate’, investigation of maintenance and discard patterns for osseous projectile point assemblages has been severely neglected in the archaeological literature. As previous work has generally been restricted to qualitative descriptions of single artefacts exhibiting clear signs of rejuvenation or recycling, our knowledge of ‘the keeping’ of these tool- kits is therefore extraordinarily limited. This thesis addresses this imbalance through beginning to build a robust methodology for investigating the maintenance, recycling and discard of osseous projectile weaponry. More than 4000 whole and fragmentary barbed and unbarbed osseous projectile points recovered from 25 Middle to Late Magdalenian sites located throughout France and southern Germany were examined and, through employing a multifaceted approach incorporating metric analyses, statistics, use-wear analysis and the examination of contemporaneous depictions of weaponry, inter-site and inter-regional differences in maintenance and discard patterns were successfully identified.

Langley, M.C.
June 2014
Type: Thesis abstract


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