|Title||What novice knappers have to learn to become expert stone toolmakers|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2010|
|Authors||Geribàs, N, Mosquera, M, Vergès, JM|
|Journal||Journal of Archaeological Science|
|Keywords||2010-08-17, culture, knapping, learning, stone tools, technology|
The aim of this paper was to determine what technical gestures must be learned in order to produce stone tools. To identify these gestures, we compared the performance of expert knappers and complete novices. We hypothesised that the differences between novices and experts would indicate which technical gestures experts had learned to successfully produce stone tools. Participants were video recorded while attempting to produce a crude handaxe. The recordings were analysed according to ethological methods used to study animal and human behaviour. The knapping performance of each participant was segmented and scored into units in order to identify the technical gestures being used. The results showed considerable differences between experts and novices in three technical gestures: the type of percussion support, the position of the blank and the angle of blow. Therefore, these three technical gestures appear to be crucial in learning to knap stone at the level of bifacial stone toolmakers. By studying how modern knappers gradually master these three technical gestures we may begin to understand how stone knapping is acquired, how bifacial stone tools emerged and what cognitive challenges early handaxe makers had to face.
What novice knappers have to learn to become expert stone toolmakers
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