Advertisement

African Archaeological Review

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 383–397 | Cite as

Variability in Ethnographic Hidescraper Use among the Hadiya of Ethiopia: Implications for Reduction Analysis

  • Yonatan SahleEmail author
  • Agazi Negash
  • David R. Braun
Original Article

Abstract

The contemporary use of flaked stone tools provides a rare opportunity to study various aspects of lithic technology. Variables that must be inferred in archaeological contexts can be observed and more easily studied in ethnographic ones. The Hadiya hideworkers of southern Ethiopia, like a few other groups in this region, still retain the tradition of making and using obsidian scrapers on a daily basis for hide-working activities. This ethnoarchaeological study demonstrates how differential access to raw material and the resultant procurement strategies result in intra-group variability in scraper-use intensity. Results show that raw material acquisition costs, which are difficult to identify in archaeological assemblages, represent significant impacts on tool use life and curation.

Keywords

Ethiopia Ethnoarchaeology Hidescraper Reduction Use life Curation 

Résumé

L’utilisation actuelle d’outils de pierre taillée offre une précieuse opportunité d’étudier divers aspects de la technologie lithique. Les variables recherchées dans les contextes archéologiques peuvent être observées et plus facilement étudiées en contexte ethnographique. Les populations Hadiya dans le sud de l’Ethiopie, comme quelques autres peuples de la région, fabriquent et utilisent encore quotidiennement des grattoirs en obsidienne pour leurs activités de travail des peaux. Cette étude ethnoarchéologique démontre comment un accès différent à la matière première, et les stratégies d’acquisition qui en résultent, amène une variabilité intragroupe dans l’intensité d’utilisation des grattoirs. Les résultats de cette étude mettent en évidence que les difficultés d’acquisition de la matière première, difficiles à identifier dans les assemblages archéologiques, ont des conséquences significatives sur l’utilisation de l’outil ainsi que l’intensité et la durée de son exploitation.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Hadiya hideworkers for allowing YS to conduct his field research in their community. Thanks also go to M.J. Shott for initial conversations regarding use life and curation, which form the basis of some of the ideas dealt with in this manuscript. YS thanks the Hadiya Culture & Tourism Bureau for facilitating his field research, and K.J. Weedman-Arthur for her insightful comments. Earlier versions of this manuscript have benefited enormously from critical comments by several anonymous reviewers and the editor. Thanks also to K. Douze for editing our French translation of the abstract. The Paleontological Scientific Trust (PAST) and its Scatterlings of Africa Programs generously provided financial support to this research as part of a bigger project. The University of Cape Town Research Council supported the analytical and writing aspects of this paper.

References

  1. Andrefsky, W. (1994). Raw-material availability and the organization of technology. American Antiquity, 59(1), 21–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ascher, R. (1961). Analogy in archaeological interpretation. Southwestern Journal of Archaeology, 17, 317–325.Google Scholar
  3. Bamforth, D. B. (1986). Technological efficiency and tool curation. American Antiquity, 51, 38–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Binford, L. R. (1982). Meaning, inference and the material record. In C. Renfrew & S. Shennan (Eds.), Ranking, resource and exchange (pp. 160–163). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Blades, B. S. (2003). End scraper reduction and hunter-gatherer mobility. American Antiquity, 68(1), 141–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blumenschine, R., Masao, F. T., Tactikos, J., & Ebert, J. (2008). Effects of distance from stone source on landscape-scale variation in Oldowan artifact assemblages in the Paleo-Olduvai Basin, Tanzania. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35, 76–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bousman, C. B. (2005). Coping with risk: Later Stone Age technological strategies at Blydefontein rock shelter, South Africa. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 24, 193–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brandt, S. A. (1996). The ethnoarchaeology of flaked stone tool use in Southern Ethiopia. In G. Pwiti & R. Soper (Eds.), Aspects of African archaeology (pp. 733–738). Harare: University of Zimbabwe Press.Google Scholar
  9. Brandt, S. A., & Weedman, K. J. (1997). The ethnoarchaeology of hide working and flaked stone tool use in Southern Ethiopia. In K. Fukui, E. Kuimoto, & M. Shigeta (Eds.), Ethiopia in broader perspective (pp. 351–361). Kyoto: Shokado Book Sellers.Google Scholar
  10. Brandt, S. A., & Weedman, K. J. (2002). The ethnoarchaeology of hide working and stone tool use in Konso, Southern Ethiopia: An introduction. In F. Audoin-Rouzeau & S. Beyries (Eds.), Le travail du cuir de la prehistoiré a nos jours (pp. 113–129). Antibes: APDCA.Google Scholar
  11. Braswell, G. E., & Glascock, M. D. (2002). The emergence of market economies in the Ancient Maya world: Obsidian exchange in terminal Classic Yucatan, Mexico. In M. Glascock (Ed.), Geochemical evidence for long-distance exchange (pp. 33–52). Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  12. Braun, D. R., Rogers, M. J., Harris, J. W. K., & Walker, S. J. (2008). Landscape-scale variation in hominin tool use: Evidence from the developed Oldowan. Journal of Human Evolution, 55, 1053–1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clark, J. R. (1979). Measuring the flow of goods with archaeological data. Economic Geography, 55(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clark, J. D. (1981). Ethno-archaeology in Ethiopia and its relevance for archaeological interpretation. In C. Roubet, H.-J. Hugot, & G. Souville (Eds.), Préhistorie africaine: Mélanges offerts au Doyen Lionel Balout (pp. 69–79). Paris: A.D.P.F.Google Scholar
  15. Clark, J. D., & Kurashina, H. (1981). A study of the work of a modern tanner in Ethiopia and its relevance for archaeological interpretation. In R. Gould & M. B. Schiffer (Eds.), Modern material culture: The archaeology of us (pp. 303–321). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  16. Clarkson, C. (2002). Holocene scraper reduction, technological organization and land use at Ingaladdi Rockshelter, Northern Australia. Archaeology in Oceania, 37(2), 79–86.Google Scholar
  17. Clarkson, C., & Lamb, L. (Eds.). (2005). Lithics down under: Australian perspectives on lithic reduction, use and classification. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
  18. Curtis, M. C. (2009). Relating the Ancient Ona culture to the wider Northern Horn: Discerning patterns and problems in the archaeology of the first millennium BC. African Archaeological Review, 26, 327–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dibble, H. L. (1995). Middle Paleolithic scraper reduction: Background, clarification, and review of the evidence to date. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 2(4), 299–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Feblót-Augustins, J. (1997). Middle and Upper Paleolithic raw material transfers in western and central Europe: Assessing the pace of change. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology, 13, 57–90.Google Scholar
  21. Freeman, D., & Pankhurst, A. (Eds.). (2002). Living on the edge: Marginalized minorities of craft workers and hunters in Southern Ethiopia. Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University press.Google Scholar
  22. Gallagher, J. P. (1977a). Contemporary stone tool use in Ethiopia: implications for archaeology. Journal of Field Archaeology, 4, 407–414.Google Scholar
  23. Gallagher, J.P. (1977b). Ethnoarchaeological and prehistoric investigations in the Ethiopian Central Rift Valley. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Southern Methodist University.Google Scholar
  24. Gebre Selassie, T. (2000). A historical survey of the Fuga low-caste occupational communities of South-Central Ethiopia. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Addis Ababa University.Google Scholar
  25. Gifford-Gonzalez, D. (1991). Bones are not enough: Analogues, knowledge, and interpretive strategies in zooarchaeology. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 10(3), 215–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gould, R. A., & Watson, P. J. (1982). A dialogue on the meaning and use of analogy in ethnoarchaeological reasoning. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 1, 355–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haberland, E. (1978). Special castes in Ethiopia. In R. Hess (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Ethiopian Studies (pp. 129–132). Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  28. Håland, R. (1987). Socio-economic differentiation in the Neolithic Sudan (p. 350). Cambridge: BAR International Series.Google Scholar
  29. Hayden, B. (1990). The right rub: Hideworking in high ranking house holds. In B. Gräslund (Ed.), The interpretive possibilities of microwear studies (pp. 89–102). Uppsala: Societas-Archaeologicas Upsaliensi.Google Scholar
  30. Hiscock, P., & Clarkson, C. (2005). Experimental evaluation of Kuhn’s geometric index of reduction and the flat-flake problem. Journal of Archaeological Science, 32(7), 1015–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hiscock, P., & Clarkson, C. (2009). The reality of reduction experiments and the GIUR: Reply to Eren and Sampson. Journal of Archaeological Science, 36, 1576–1581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jeske, R. J. (1989). Economies in raw material use by prehistoric hunter-gatherers. In R. Torrence (Ed.), Time, energy and stone tools (pp. 34–45). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Jeske, R. J. (1992). Energetic efficiency and lithic technology: An Upper Mississippian example. American Antiquity, 57(3), 467–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kuhn, S. L. (1991). “Unpacking” reduction: Lithic raw material economy in the Mousterian of west-central Italy. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 10(1), 76–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kuhn, S. L. (1992). Blank form and reduction as determinants of Mousterian scraper morphology. American Antiquity, 57(1), 115–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McAnany, P. A. (1989). Stone-tool production and exchange in the eastern Maya lowlands: The consumer perspective from Pulltrouser Swamp, Belize. American Antiquity, 54(2), 332–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Newman, J. R. (1994). The effects of distance on lithic raw material reduction technology. Journal of Field Archaeology, 21, 491–501.Google Scholar
  38. Pankhurst, R. (1968). Economic history of Ethiopia 1800–1935. Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University.Google Scholar
  39. Phillipson, L. (2000). Aksumite lithic industries. The African Archaeological Review, 17(2), 49–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Renfrew, C. (1969). Trade and culture process in European prehistory. Current Anthropology, 10, 151–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sahle, Y. (2008). An ethnoarchaeological study of stone-tool use among the Hadiya hideworkers of southern Ethiopia. Unpublished MA thesis, Addis Ababa University.Google Scholar
  42. Sahle, Y., & Negash, A. (2010). An ethnoarchaeology of lithic site-formation patterns amongst the Hadiya of Ethiopia: Some initial results. Nyame Akuma, 74, 36–41.Google Scholar
  43. Schiffer, M. B. (1976). Behavioral archaeology. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  44. Schmidt, P. (2010). The play of tropes in archaeology: Ethnoarchaeology as metonymy. Ethnoarchaeology, 2, 131–152.Google Scholar
  45. Shea, J. J., Davis, Z., & Brown, K. (2001). Experimental tests of Middle Paleolithic spear points using a calibrated crossbow. Journal of Archaeological Science, 28(8), 807–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shott, M. J. (1989). On tool-class use lives and the formation of archaeological assemblages. American Antiquity, 54(1), 9–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Shott, M. J. (1996). An exegesis of the curation concept. Journal of Anthropological Research, 52(3), 259–280.Google Scholar
  48. Shott, M. J. (2002). Weibull estimation of use-life distribution in experimental spear-point data. Lithic Technology, 27, 93–110.Google Scholar
  49. Shott, M. J. (2005). The reduction thesis and its discontents: Review of Australian approaches. In C. Clarkson & L. Lamb (Eds.), Lithics ‘Down Under’: Australian perspectives on lithic reduction, use and classification (pp. 109–125). Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
  50. Shott, M. J., & Ballenger, J. A. M. (2007). Biface reduction and the measurement of Dalton curation: A southeastern United States case study. American Antiquity, 72(1), 153–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Shott, M. J., & Sillitoe, P. (2005). Use life and curation in New Guinea experimental used flakes. Journal of Archaeological Science, 32, 653–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Shott, M. J., & Weedman, K. J. (2007). Measuring reduction in stone tools: An ethnoarchaeological study of Gamo hidescrapers from Ethiopia. Journal of Archaeological Science, 34, 1016–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Teka, Z., & Okubatsion, D. (2008). Lithic artifacts from archaeological sites in the Greater Asmara area. In P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, & Z. Teka (Eds.), The archaeology of ancient Eritrea (pp. 189–205). Trenton: Red Sea Press.Google Scholar
  54. Torrence, R. (1986). Production and exchange of stone tools. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Torrence, R. (1989). Retooling: Towards a behavioral theory of stone tools. In R. Torrence (Ed.), Time, energy, and stone tools (pp. 57–66). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Webley, L. (2005). Hideworking among descendants of Khoekhoen pastoralists in Northern Cape, South Africa. In L. Frink & K. J. Weedman (Eds.), Gender and hide production (pp. 153–174). Walnut Creek: Altamira.Google Scholar
  57. Weedman, K.J. (2000). An ethnoarchaeological study of stone scrapers among the Gamo people of Southern Ethiopia. Gainesville: Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida.Google Scholar
  58. Weedman, K. J. (2002a). On the spur of the moment: Effects of age and experience on hafted stone scraper morphology. American Antiquity, 67, 731–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Weedman, K. J. (2002b). An ethnoarchaeological study of stone-tool variability among the Gamo hideworkers of Southern Ethiopia. In F. Audoin-Rouzeau & B. Beyries (Eds.), Le travail du cuir de la préhistoire à nos jours (pp. 131–142). Antibes: APDCA.Google Scholar
  60. Weedman, K. J. (2005). Gender and stone tools: An ethnoarchaeological study of the Konso and Gamo hideworkers of Southern Ethiopia. In L. Frink & K. J. Weedman (Eds.), Gender and hide production (pp. 175–196). Walnut Creek: Altamira.Google Scholar
  61. Weedman, K. J. (2006). An ethnoarchaeological study of hafting and stone tool diversity among the Gamo of Ethiopia. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 13(3), 188–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wilson, D. L. (1994). The analysis of survival (mortality) data: Fitting Gompertz, Weibull and logistic functions. Mechanisms of Age Development, 74, 15–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wylie, A. (1985). The reaction against analogy. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, 8, 63–111.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Paleoanthropology & Paleoenvironment ProgramAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia

Personalised recommendations