Kathu Pan 1 points and the assemblage-scale, probabilistic approach: A response to Rots and Plisson, "Projectiles and the abuse of the use-wear method in a search for impact"
Journal of Archaeological Science
Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, PO Box 872402, Tempe, AZ, United States; Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa; Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, 19 Russell Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
Rots and Plisson (2014) question our conclusion that 500,000-year-old points from Kathu Pan 1, South Africa were used as spear tips (Wilkins etal., 2012). However, their reinterpretation of the fractures we identify as diagnostic impact fractures are incorrect. Despite the assertion, knapping processes alone do not explain the basal modifications on the KP1 points. Although Rots and Plisson are critical of the edge damage distribution method, it provides objective, quantitative and statistical comparisons of experimental and archaeological datasets. The data we present stand as reliable evidence for early hafted hunting technology. We suggest that the disagreement stems from a differing perspective on how lithic functional studies should deal with equifinality and the challenge of confidently assessing stone tool function. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
archaeological evidence; hunting; Mesolithic; probability; tool use; South Africa
BCS-0524087, NSF, National Science Foundation; BCS-1138073, NSF, National Science Foundation