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Raw-Material Availability and the Organization of Technology

  • William Andrefsky (a1)
Abstract

Ethnographic examples of stone-tool makers in Australia and archaeological examples from three different areas in the western United States indicate that the availability of lithic raw materials is an important variable conditioning stone-tool production technology. Attributes of availability such as abundance and quality of lithic raw materials condition the production of formal- vs. informal-tool types. Poor-quality raw materials tend to be manufactured into informal-tool designs. High-quality lithic raw materials tend to be manufactured into formal-tool designs when such materials occur in low abundance. When high-quality materials occur in great abundance both formal- and informal-tool designs are manufactured. Other factors, such as residential mobility or sedentism, are found to be less-important determinates of lithic-production technology.

Resumen

Ejemplos etnográficos de los productores de herramientas de piedra en Australia y ejemplos arqueológicos de tres diferentes áreas en el oeste de los Estados Unidos indican que la disponibilidad de materia prima lítica es uno de los condicionantes más importantes en la tecnología de producción de herramientas de piedra. Se ha encontrado que ciertas características, tales como la abundancia y calidad de la materia prima lítica, sonfactores importantes en la producción de herramientas formales vs. herramientas informales. Materia prima de baja calidad tiende a ser utilizada en diseños de herramientas informales, mientras que materia prima de aha calidad tiende a ser utilizada en disenos de herramientas formales cuando ésta no es abundante. Cuando materiales de alta calidad son muy abundantes, los diseños de herramientas formales e informales tienden a ser producidos. Otros factores, como mobilidad residential y sedentismo, son determinantes menos importantes en la tecnología de producción lítica.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
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