Functional and Stylistic Attributes of Ethnographic Bone and Wire Pressure Flaking Tools from the Kimberley Region, Northwest Australia

23rd November 2014

Perston, YinikaThe majority of modern flintknappers use pointed wire tools for the pressure-flaking technique. The sharpness of the tool’s tip is discussed among flintknappers, but the necessity of an acute, pointed shape is rarely disputed. However, Aborigines in the Kimberley region historically hammered and filed their wire pressure flakers into a spatulate shape rather than a pointed one. Here we describe traditional Aboriginal pressure flakers made from kangaroo ulnas and demonstrate that the tips of these organic tools also had spatulate shaped tips. Replication experiments suggest that bone pressure flakers wear naturally into this shape, perhaps augmented by grinding. We propose that Aboriginal stoneworkers transferred the shape of the spatulate shaped tip from bone to wire tools as a stylistic convention rather than technical necessity.

Citation for this poster:

Perston, Y. and M. Moore 2014 Functional and Stylistic Attributes of Ethnographic Bone and Wire Pressure Flaking Tools from the Kimberley Region, Northwest Australia. Poster Presented at the AAA/ASHA Annual Conference, 1-3 December, Cairns.

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