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Technological Efficiency and Tool Curation

Douglas B. Bamforth
American Antiquity
Vol. 51, No. 1 (Jan., 1986), pp. 38-50
DOI: 10.2307/280392
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/280392
Page Count: 13
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Technological Efficiency and Tool Curation
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Abstract

Archaeologists frequently explain tool curation by its efficiency. Such explanations ignore the fact that curation is a complex activity and that its component parts are efficient in different ways. I argue that the nature and distribution of lithic resources critically affect technological efficiency and I discuss two aspects of curation, maintenance and recycling, asserting that they are responses to raw material shortages. Shortages result from regional geological conditions and from behavior patterns that restrict access to raw material in certain contexts. Ethnographic and archaeological examples support this hypothesis and highlight the relationship between subsistence-settlement organization, raw material distribution, and technology.

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