Thoughts on Stone Tool Shape and Inferred Function
Andrefsky, William, Jr.
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Inferences of site function from stone tool function based upon tool typologies are very common in the contemporary archaeological literature. A brief review of some ethnographic and archaeological studies confirms the long standing proposition that stone tool shape does not always correlate to the particular function and that some stone tool shapes may have been effective for multiple functions. It is shown that processes such as tool production and tool use as well as situational constraints encountered by tool makers are responsible for much of the variability in stone tool shape and that these processes and constraints should be accounted for when building stone tool typologies. As a result, it is argued that site functions can not be inferred from artifact functions based upon morphological typologies in all cases.