Separating two or more aspects of an object via cutting was likely an important factor in the origin and evolution of flaked stone technology. In recent years experiments have demonstrated that several stone tool attributes can influence different kinds of cutting behaviour: slicing, cleaving, scraping, sawing, drilling, piercing and abrading. Here we experimentally assessed the role of stone flake plan- and profile-view gross-edge curvature in a controlled slicing task. We also assessed the role of edge length. A total of 21 participants, using 252 stone flakes with distinct gross-edge curvatures and edge lengths, were asked to cut through a standardized substrate, and their efficiency in the task was measured over time. Flakes with longer edge lengths increased the efficiency of the cutting task, but increasing either plan- or profile-view edge curvature decreased the efficiency of the cutting task. These results have implications for the emergence of particular tool forms or reduction sequences throughout the Pleistocene, and may in part explain why certain forms were favoured by Paleolithic people, leading to their convergent evolution or widespread transmission.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was funded by the Leakey Foundation (award number CON000000084574). Funding information
© 2022 The Authors. Archaeometry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of University of Oxford.
- cutting edge
- experimental archaeology
- slicing efficiency
- stone tools