Primary Human Effects: Cutting Edge and Percussion Effects on Bone

  • Diane Gifford-Gonzalez


This chapter summarizes research on modifications inflicted on bone by hominin processors using cutting edges and percussors. It summarizes these implements’ distinctive traces, including slicing, scraping, sawing, chopping marks made by stone and metal tools, and percussion marks produced by hammerstones and stone anvils and by clubbing against anvils, as well as by metal chopping tools. It introduces a vocabulary that distinguishes different stages in tool-aided carcass processing to be used in the balance of the book. Whether and how cut marks on bone surfaces can reliably be used to infer intensity of processing or functional butchery operations is a contentious matter in zooarchaeology and is introduced here. This chapter discusses the overlap of hammerstone impact marks with static loading notches produced by large carnivores. As with the parallel case of trample and cut marks discussed in Chapter 13, many such instances can be clarified by systematic, actualistically informed approaches using multiple lines of contextual and bone surface evidence.


Cut marks Chop marks Sawing Percussion Hammerstone Anvil Stone tools Metal tools 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane Gifford-Gonzalez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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