Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Stone Tool Usewear and Residue Analysis

  • Richard FullagarEmail author
  • Carney Matheson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_842


Although strictly speaking the concept of artifact refers to what is actually manufactured (e.g., by flaking or grinding), in archaeology the term stone artifact commonly refers to any stones that are made, modified, or used by humans (other primates also make and use artifacts; see Mercader et al. 2007). The by-products of manufacture are often also called artifacts in the sense that humans produced them. Stone tools are usually defined as those artifacts that actually have evidence of use. For reliable identification of archaeological stone tools and determination of specific functions, analysts rely on multiple lines of evidencethat might include tool design, usewear, residues, breakage patterns, hafting traces, and archaeological context. Ethnographic and experimental evidence is also important. Usewear and residue analyses have the potential to provide a reliable basis for reconstructing and evaluating the nature of prehistoric tasks, resource utilization, and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Archaeological ScienceSchool of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Scarp ArchaeologyAustinmerAustralia
  3. 3.Paleo-DNA Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, Department of BiologyLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada