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Hafting and Retooling: Effects on the Archaeological Record

  • Lawrence H. Keeley (a1)

Hafting has long been recognized by archaeologists as a process affecting stone tools. However, the effects of this process on the archaeological record have been virtually ignored. Hafting affects the final typological form of tools because hafted tools are usually more extensively and intensively worked than their unhafted counterparts. Ethnoarchaeological and some recent archaeological evidence indicates that functionally equivalent but typologically diverse hafted and unhafted tools may be in use at the same site. Because hafted tools are disposed of as a consequence of the “retooling” of hafts, the context of their disposal may not be equivalent to the context of their use. But, unhafted tools appear to be disposed of more often at or near the focus of use. Indifference to the hafted/unhafted distinction then may seriously distort inferences based upon intrasite spatial analysis. It is also argued that hafting is a strategy that will be differentially employed by any social group at different sites according to circumstances, thereby contributing to interassemblage variability. Finally, some methods of analysis are suggested that will allow the typological and distributional effects of hafting and retooling to be taken into account by lithic analysts.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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