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Earliest stone tools - short anthropology essay

FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Jul 13, 2007   #1

Could you please read my short Anthropology essay and give me some feedback?

The prompt is:

How do we know that the earliest stone tools are human artefacts?

Thank you in advance.

Who invented those utensils? How along ago have they been created? Why did someone feel the need to do those? Children, and even adults, have often raised such questions. Human curiosity has incited archaeologists into surveying early remains to discover the first appearance of a human tool. Research indicates that stone composes those early utensils. However, archaeologists face many difficulties when they intend to define whether an artefact is a human tool. Scientists may necessitate the use of two main methods to classify their discoveries as human tools, which derive from the physical appearance of the remains and their close surrounding.

First, the physical appearance of a stone item may indicate whether it is a human tool. When the archaeologists investigate the remains from a test pit or an archaeological site, they find stone items that might be early human tools. The shape of those stones may highlight the fact they are the result of a human intervention. Indeed, their surface may present aberrant signs such as bulbs of percussion, which are convex surfaces caused by the force used when an individual attempt to split a flake off from a stone. Those stones may also present a symmetrical aspect because this characteristic is not a natural phenomenon. Consequently, when an archaeologist comes across such an item, he may suppose that this stone is a human artefact. Nevertheless, to demonstrate the validity of the idea that this is a tool, the archaeologist needs to verify that this artefact is an actual tool and not a primitive form of art. An element of answer may be the existence of organic remains, such as on the blade of a cutting tool, or evidence of abrasion of the blade, such as on a pick.

Second, the close surrounding of stone items that are identical may indicate whether they are human tools. The archaeological sites that are littered with multiple occurrences of similar stone items may generate the idea that those elements are human artefacts. Actually, the recurrence of a strictly analogous worked aspect in a small area is highly improbable in the wild. Moreover, when archaeologists find items that ring a bell in their mind, they may compare their theory with the ones of other counterparts as regards the findings of previous archaeological sites or as regards the observation of analogous activities in contemporaneous societies, which is called an ethnographic analogy. Finally, the archaeologists may ascertain their views by certifying that an item that has been confirmed as a tool is the creation of a human individual. The corroboration may be established thanks to the fact that those items are discovered into the framework of a situation that does not allow doubting, such as a spear point on the top of a stick or a series of microliths tied to a handle.

Finally, the determination of a stone item as a human tool is no easy task. The object challenges the archaeologists by both its intrinsic nature and its potential human manufacturing. The questions that are raised by the discovery or early remains emphasize the intricacy of the work of the archaeologists, and particularly the subsequent analyses of those rests. However, the archaeologists have at their disposal several kinds of aid. Among them, they can refer to archaeological and ethnographic researches that expand the available body of knowledge that is required to compare early items with contemporary tools, and therefore reach correct conclusions. Finally, that uncertainty about the nature of early remains leads to develop a subfield that focuses on archaeologists' attempts to reproduce early tools only through our ancestors' early means of production, which is the experimental archaeology. Consequently, thanks to all of those scientists' endeavours, one could be able to relate to one's child the early history of the tools.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jul 14, 2007   #2

I'm learning a lot about archaelology from your essays! Very interesting! Here are a few editing pointers:

How along ago were they created? Why did someone feel the need to make them?

the force used when an individual attempts to split a flake off from a stone.

The corroboration may be established thanks to the fact that those items are discovered in the framework of a situation

and particularly the subsequent analyses of those rests. - "rests" doesn't quite make sense here; did you mean "of the rest"?

Excellent work!


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