Kathryn Weedman Arthur: The Lives of Stone Tools: Crafting the Status, Skill, and Identity of Flintknappers

Tucson, The University of Arizona Press, 2018, 314 pp., ISBN-13:978-0-8165-3713-6
  • Diane LyonsEmail author
Book Review

The Lives of Stone Tools is an ethnoarchaeological study of the Boreda Gamo flintknappers of southern Ethiopia presented from the perspective of their indigenous ontology, Etta Woga(Fig Tree Culture). Kathryn Weedman Arthur’s intent is to challenge and to decolonize archaeological theories and assumptions about lithic technology based in Western capitalist, patriarchal, and colonialist ontologies by investigating what lithic technology means to indigenous practitioners from their perception of reality. Arthur first provides an historic overview of how Western archaeologists tend to view stone as an inert raw material upon which human agents exert physical force to make useful objects, and then evaluate flintknapper skill based on the finished product using capitalist criteria of tool standardization, tool efficiency, and the economy of labor in tool production. After identifying many challenges to androcentric bias in lithic research, Arthur contends that archaeologists continue to...



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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