Flake recovery rates and inferences of Oldowan hominin behavior: A response to Kimura 1999, 2002

  • Braun D
  • Tactikos J
  • Ferraro J
 et al. 
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In studies of Oldowan core technologies, num- bers of flake scars on cores are commonly used as proxies for levels of core reduction (Toth, 1982; Potts, 1991). It is implicitly assumed that as a core is reduced, the number of scars on a core will increase. However, by the second or third gener- ation of removals, the number of scars plateaus and then declines as the core approaches exhaustion. Intuitively the pattern is easy to explain. Early in reduction, there is an abundance of surface area, an asymptote is reached as previous removals are replaced with later ones, and, as the remaining surface area is quickly reduced, flake scars are lost at a faster rate than they are produced. Unfortunately Oldowan cores found in the archaeological record may have undergone several generations of reduction. As calculations of reduction are derived from the number of flake removals currently visible, it is difficult to determine whether earlier removals are replaced by later ones. Therein, in essence, is the problem with a series of recent papers in this Journal (Kimura, 1999, 2002).

Author-supplied keywords

  • Experimental archaeology
  • Flake recovery rate
  • Oldowan
  • Olduvai

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  • David R. Braun

  • Joanne C. Tactikos

  • Joseph V. Ferraro

  • J. W K Harris

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