Experimental determinations of cutmark orientation and the reconstruction of prehistoric butchery behavior

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Charles P. Egeland, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The frequency, anatomical location, and orientation of stone tool cutmarks have all been widely employed in reconstructions of ancient butchery practices. Cutmark orientation in particular has great potential to inform on various aspects of past behavior, and here we provide experimentally derived orientations with novice butchers in two contexts. The first models the butchery of a carcass part by a single individual, and the second the butchery of a carcass part by several individuals simultaneously. Our goal is to test the following hypothesis: do butchers working alone produce less variation in cutmark orientation than several working at once? Preliminary data indicate that, at least with the novices involved in this experiment, variation in cutmark angles does not differ significantly between the two scenarios. Although further experimental work is warranted, we suggest that while the number of individuals may play some role in determining cutmark orientations, experience and skill are also important factors.

Additional Information

Journal of Archaeological Science 49, 126-133
Language: English
Date: 2014
Cutmarks, Butchery, Taphonomy, Zooarchaeology, Skill

Email this document to