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A Typological Analysis of Axes and Choppers from Southeast Australia*

  • Donald J. Tugby (a1)

Three major factors have influenced the classification of stone artifacts in Australia. The first is the presence in the country of a contemporary stone-using people, the Australian aborigines. Early, relatively complete, and ethnologically valid studies of their life (Spencer and Gillen 1899), have given Australian artifact studies a functional flavor; so much so, that descriptive classifications have been proposed, whose major categories were in completely functional terms (Kenyon and Stirling 1900). Quite properly, Australian workers have sought functional comparisons between implements in current use and those whose function could not be discovered by ethnological enquiry, either because their makers had become culturally disintegrated, as in southeast Australia, or because their function was unknown to the living aborigines in the area concerned (see, for instance, the discussion of the mounted elouera in Setzler and McCarthy 1950).

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The author is indebted to D, W. McElwain, Department of Psychology, University of Queensland, who worked with him on the matrix sorting, to F. D. McCarthy, Curator of Anthropology, Australian Museum, Sydney, who made available a number of specimens in his charge, and to the late George W. Brainerd, who provided literature not available in Australia and otherwise encouraged the author.

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