Ancient Men and Modern Myths

1st Edition - July 16, 1987

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  • Author: Lewis R. Binford
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483213958

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Bones: Ancient Men and Modern Myths focuses on bone structures and characteristics, including bone modifications, breakage, processing, and destruction by animals. The publication first elaborates on the transitions to relics to artifacts and monuments to assemblages and middle-range research and the role of actualistic studies, including artifact and assemblage phase and relic and monument phase. The text then takes a look at the patterns of bone modifications produced by nonhuman agents and human modes of bone modification. Discussions focus on breakage related to other forms of bone processing, morphology of bone breakage, chopping and bone breakage as butchering techniques, butchering marks, bone breakage and destruction by animals, tooth marks, and previous approaches to understanding the significance of broken and modified bone. The manuscript ponders on patterns of association stemming from the behavior of man versus that of beast, as well as control collections of animal-structured assemblages; information on kill behavior and comparisons; observations of wolves and their behavior; and studies of assemblage composition caused by beasts. The publication is a valuable source of information for researchers interested in bone structure and modifications.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword



    List of Figures and Tables


    Part I Documenting a Long-Term Archaeological Problem: Concepts and Observations

    Chapter 1 Relics to Artifacts and Monuments to Assemblages: Changing Conceptual Frameworks

    The Relic and Monument Phase

    The Artifact and Assemblage Phase

    Chapter 2 Middle-Range Research and the Role of Actualistic Studies

    The Paradigm—One's Guide to Describing the World

    Theory—One's Guide to Explaining the World

    Part II Middle-Range Research—In Search of Methodology

    Chapter 3 Patterns of Bone Modifications Produced by Nonhuman Agents

    Previous Approaches to Understanding the Significance of Broken and Modified Bone

    Skeletal Disarticulation

    Tooth Marks

    Other Sources of Surficial Modifications on Bone

    Bone Breakage and Destruction by Animals

    Modifications by Anatomical Part

    Breakage Unrelated to Consumption: Trampling and Bone Manipulation

    Bone Modifications and Methodology

    Chapter 4 Human Modes of Bone Modification

    Previous Approaches to Understanding Broken and Modified Bone

    The Control Data

    Dismembering Strategy

    Butchering Marks

    Cut Marks: Their Form and Placement on Specific Bones

    Chopping, Bone Breakage and Butchering Techniques

    Gnawing by Humans

    Marrow-Bone Breakage

    Control Collections

    Breakage Related in Other Forms of Bone Processing

    Man-to-Man Comparisons, or Alternative Human Behaviors

    Comparing Man and Beast

    Morphology of Bone Breakage


    Chapter 5 Assemblage Composition: Patterns of Association Stemming from the Behavior of Man Versus that of Beast

    New World Beginnings—Man as the Agent

    African Problems and Assemblage Composition

    Other Types of Assemblage Variability

    Studies of Assemblage Composition Caused by Beasts

    Observations of Wolves and Their Behavior

    Information on Lair Behavior

    Information on Kill Behavior and Comparisons

    Control Collections of Animal-Structured Assemblages


    Part III Putting Our Knowledge to Work: Seeking to Know the Past

    Chapter 6 Application: A New Look at Olduvai Gorge

    Olduvai Gorge, a Challenge to Our Methods

    Analysis of Olduvai Fauna

    Evaluating the Degree of Destruction Suffered by the Olduvai Assemblages

    Assemblage Composition—Olduvai Gorge


    Chapter 7 General Conclusions



Product details

  • No. of pages: 328
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1987
  • Published: July 16, 1987
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483213958

About the Author

Lewis R. Binford

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