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Residues on stone artefacts: state of a scientific art

  • Richard Fullagar (a1), Judith Furby (a2) and Bruce Hardy (a3)

It is a startling experience to look down a microscope at a stone tool — a real Palaeolithic artefact, not a modern thing or a replicated copy — and see on its flint surface grubby brown-red stains that look the colour of old blood. Is a consensus emerging from the archaeological scientists as to just what traces of, especially, biological materials do survive on ancient stone surfaces, where they can be reliably characterized and identified?

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