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Flint Tools as Portable Sound-Producing Objects in the Upper Palaeolithic Context: An Experimental Study

TitleFlint Tools as Portable Sound-Producing Objects in the Upper Palaeolithic Context: An Experimental Study
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBLAKE, E. C., and I. CROSS
EditorCUNNINGHAM, P., J. HEEB, and R. P. PAARDEKOOPER
Book TitleExperiencing Archaeology By Experiment
CityOxford
PublisherOxbow Books
Pages1-19
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISBN Number978-1-84217-342-8
Abstract

In stratigraphic levels associated with the early Upper Palaeolithic, reputed “sound-tools” have been discovered in the form of bone and ivory pipes at the sites of Geißenklösterle, Germany and the Grott e d’Isturitz, France. The technical sophistication of these objects holds out the promise that other archaeologically durable materials, such as stone, may have been exploited for quasi-musical behaviours. Other types of stone artefacts, though generally interpreted as “tools”, might well have been used as “sound tools”, or lithophones. This paper reports the results of acoustical and use-wear analyses of experimentally made Aurignacian-type blades with the intention of specifying diagnostic criteria that
could aid the identifi cation of lithic artefacts in the archaeological record that may have been employed to produce sound. The project takes forward and expands on the methodology of the original Lithoacoustics project (Cross et al. 2002) in order to identify and to refi ne objective criteria for acoustical assessment and to clarify the nature of use-wear resulting from diff erent playing methods.

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