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Wood Sharp Stone: Boomerangs Used to Retouch Lithic Tools

A new study into the multipurpose uses of boomerangs has shed light on how hardwood objects were used to shape the edges of stone tools used by Australian indigenous communities.

research, published in one moreshowed how lithic (or stone) tools can act as improvisers by investigating the use-wear generated on the surfaces of boomerangs during boomerang retouching activities.

It was found that these use-wear effects on boomerangs are comparable to those observed on Paleolithic bone retouching tools, which date back more than 200,000 years.

The research adds to a previous study led by the same team from Griffith University’s Australian Research Center for Human Evolution into the use of boomerangs, but also sheds light on the broader topic of multipurpose application of many indigenous tools across Australia.

ARCHE PhD candidate Eva Francesca Martellotta said the study revealed a deep functional relationship between bone and wooden objects – a topic rarely investigated in archaeological contexts.

“Studying the shaping techniques applied to stone tools is important to understand our past,” Martellotta said.

“Thinking in modern terms, it’s like understanding the difference between a butcher knife and a bread knife: their blades have different shapes—one straight, the other serrated—because they are used to cut different materials. i.e. different tasks to perform.

“Australian boomerangs are primarily used as hunting and fighting weapons. However, they also have many other functions, which are associated with the daily activities of Aboriginal communities.

“In our article, we put together conventional wisdom and experimental archeology to investigate the forgotten use of the boomerang: modifying the edges of stone tools.

“This activity is fundamental to the production of various types of stone tools, each of them with one or more functions.

“Traditionally handcrafted experimental replicas of boomerangs proved very functional for shaping stone tools.

“Our results are the first scientific evidence of the multipurpose nature of these iconic objects.”

“While our results are the first time to scientifically quantify the multipurpose nature of everyday devices such as the boomerang, it is something that Aboriginal people have known for a very long time.”

Study co-author Paul Kraft, a Birunbura / Bundjalung / Yugambeh / Uggera / Turbal man, contributed two of the four hardwood boomerangs used in the lithic tool napping (shaping) experiments that Griffith Experimental Archaeological Research conducted. were located outside the laboratory. Nathan on campus.

The EXARC Experimental Archaeological Association partially funded the project through the 2021 Experimental Archeology Award.

Story Source:

material provided by Griffith University, Note: Content can be edited for style and length.


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