Specialized Bone Tools Essay

692 words - 3 pages

The article “Neanderthals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe” was published by Marie Soressi and her coauthors in 2013. This article examines the implications of bone tools that have recently been found in association with Neanderthal remains. Previously, such tools had only been found in association with modern humans. The results have implications for hypotheses concerning the invention of these bone tools.

The authors' explore the implications that have arisen after the discovery of lissoir bone tools with Neanderthals. Lissoirs are significant because they are standardized bone tools; this means they are different from existing stone tools and are they shaped by grinding. Before the discovery of these lissoirs a few similar tools had been found with Neanderthals but they did not hold the same significance. Many of the bone tools found in association with Neanderthals were simply imitations of stone tools such as scrapers and hand axes and they were created by percussion; others found were from a late enough date that the makers could already have been influenced by modern humans. Finally though, these four lissoirs fragments were discovered in two separate Neanderthal sites. These tools are standardized tools that are still used to process animal hides today. To this date these finds are the oldest known evidence of specialized bone tool use among Neanderthals.

Two sites in Southwest France near the Dordogne river were recently excavated (the first site is called Pech-de-l’Azé I and the second site is called Abri Peyrony). At both sites fragments of bone were found that had smoothed edges and rounded tips. The Pech-de-l’Azé bone was found in layer four of the excavation along with the tooth of a juvenile Neanderthal, some stone artifacts, and ash from a hearth. It was estimated to be 51.4 thousand years old give or take 2.0 thousand years using optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediment from layer four. Three different bone tools were discovered at Abri Peyrony in layer three along with some hand axe thinning flakes, cordiform hand...

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