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Old 12th April 2012, 07:51 PM   #1
josh stout
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Default please help with tool vs weapon edge pics and men's womens knives

I apologize that I have not been very active as late because my job (biologist) keeps getting in the way of looking at sharp pointy things. However, I have been striving to unify my two interests with a study of Paleolithic hand axes, prompted by a purchase from another forum member.

I am trying to discuss these artifacts the way we do on this forum with an eye to form, function, and the role in the society. This must be speculative regarding things made a million years ago, but I think the rules are the same. I would like to argue that a single beveled edge with an acute angle is likely to be evidence that the object was primarily a tool for cutting and slicing, while a double bevel and a more obtuse angle is evidence of an object that was used for heavy impacts, and may well have been a weapon.
I would also like to argue that some objects, with a weapon like geometry that are smaller than the usual form, may have been used by smaller individuals such as juveniles or females.

Neither of these arguments has been presented in the literature with evidence based on existing ethnographic example of tools and weapons. So what I am hoping is that people could kindly help me with this project by providing some detailed pictures showing edge geometry, say of a barong and a bolo, or other similar set of weapons and tools with differing edges from a single culture. I would also like some examples of large and small versions of a kris or similar knife where the regular sized version might be considered status item, while the smaller version might be a woman or boys knife.

If there are any useful papers to cite on the topic please let me know.

I will thank this forum and any members who can provide me with appropriate photos when I publish a paper. Please make sure you expressly give me permission to use the photos when you post them. If you do not want to post photos publically, feel free to email me at stoutjs@fdu.edu.

Thank you so much for all the help so far. I would have neither these ideas on classification nor objects to classify if it were not for this forum.
Josh
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Old 12th April 2012, 08:13 PM   #2
G. McCormack
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Josh, stone tools and weapons perform very differently than metal ones. They are designed and work differently. I suggest you head over to the paleoplanet forums at http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/directory#.T4co3I6ENiU

Lots of folks using stone tools for hunting, woodworking, etc etc
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Old 17th April 2012, 06:16 PM   #3
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Thanks, I have tried the paleoplanet site, and they have not been very useful. Some of it may be because I am a newbie asking the wrong questions, but some of it is because they focus on North American things done in the last 10,000 years or so. My things are old world, in the 300,000-1,000,000 years old range.

The real problem is that stone tool people do not think the way the metal blade people seem to. I have seen published papers stating that an object should be symmetrical to maximize force at the point of impact and this is why stone tools are symmetrical, but when I look at the tools, they are not symmetrical, and what they are talking about (the COP) seems to be confused with the point.

This is a well examined issue within the field of metal pointy things. We differentiate between the COP and the point, and then discuss the advantages of edge versus tip geometry in particular contexts. This is a more sophisticated discussion than what is seen in discussions of stone objects. If I could find people able to discuss the tools at that level I would.

I was hoping that I could make some arguments about form and utility based on analogies to existing metal blade technologies. What I think I will do at this juncture is to research photos on this forum and then seek permissions one by one.
Thanks again,
Josh
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Old 18th April 2012, 01:05 AM   #4
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My not very recent post to Paleoplanet.

http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/to...tools-from-Oman
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Old 18th April 2012, 02:42 AM   #5
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THE MORE CRUDE THE STONE TOOL THE MORE DIFFICULT IT IS TO DETERMINE POSSIBLE USES. THE WAY IT FITS THE HAND CAN GIVE SOME IDEA OF ITS USE BUT IN MANY CASES I SUSPECT A TOOL SUCH AS THE ONE SHOWN BY ITS SELF IN YOUR POST MAY HAVE BEEN USED IN MORE THAN ONE WAY UNLESS IT WAS HAFTED. WHEN USING PART OF THE TOOL THAT WAS NOT SHARP THE SHARP EDGE CAN BE HELD IN THE HAND AND I SUSPECT WOULD HAVE BEEN HELD WITH SOME FIBER OR LEATHER TO PROTECT THE HAND. SUCH A TOOL COULD FUNCTION AS A KNIFE, SCRAPER, OR AX AND PERHAPS THE THINNER END TO PECK INTO HARD TO GET TOO PLACES. THE SIZE AND WEIGHT IS NOT GIVEN SO I DON'T KNOW IF IT COULD HAVE BEEN USED TO CRUSH BONE TO MAKE TOOLS OR GET AT THE MARROW.
IN NORTH AMERICA NOMADIC TRIBES WHO LIVED IN AN AREA WITH PLENTY OF STONE SUITABLE FOR MAKING TOOLS OFTEN STASHED THEM AT CAMPSITES AS THEY MOVED FROM PLACE TO PLACE OR SIMPLY DISCARDED AT THE KILL SITE. IN AREAS WHERE MATERIALS WERE SCARCE THEY HAD TO TAKE SUITABLE TOOLS AND BLANKS ALONG WITH THEM BUT WERE LIMITED TO VERY FEW BELONGINGS. ONLY ESTABLISHED CAMPS OR VILLAGES IN AREAS WITH PLENTY OF RESOURCES GENERATED MANY PERMANENT BELONGINGS.
NOT MUCH INFORMATION HERE BUT WE CAN ONLY SURMIZE AS TO HOW THESE WERE USED BY PRIMATIVE MAN BUT WHEN WE HANDLE THEM AND TRY TO USE THEM TO DO A JOB WE PROBABLY LEARN THE BEST WAY TO USE THESE TOOLS JUST AS THEY DID LONG AGO.
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Old 18th April 2012, 08:08 PM   #6
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Thanks, it was only when I held these things in my hands that I really started to wonder about their use. There are two in the collection with a rounded side that fits well in the hand and a sharp side for use. One is pointed, like an awl perhaps, while the other has a single bevel edge at an acute angle. These are what I would call tools. While it would be speculation to guess at their exact uses, they are immediately recognizable as made to fit in the hand with many possible uses for the sharp end. What made me wonder, was the more classically shaped hand axes, such as the one I posted. They are a recognizable form that was stable for a million years, all about the size of a hand, give or take 50%. Despite the literature claiming they are symmetrical, they all have a profile that resembles Africa, with a bulge on one side, instead of the tear drop shape as described.

The key point is they do not fit well in the hand. They are often described as Paleolithic Swiss Army knives, but while it would be possible to use them many ways, they do not seem designed for it. They are sharp all the way around. The only thing I can think of is that they are throwing weapons, an idea first proposed by H. G. Wells. If you hold them by the point, or with a finger curled around like a skipping stone, they feel ready to fly. The double bevel with a thicker angle would make them suitable for a percussive blow. I think the asymmetrical bulge adds to the forward weight for the throw. There are versions, not in this collection, that are sharpened circles that remind me of chakrums, and there are thicker longer ones, of which I have one, that could be used in some other manner, but the primary form is the asymmetrical one displayed. Some have argued that all hand axes were ritual objects, with some extremely rare examples that are too large to hold demonstrating that they were not meant for use, but I would say these larger examples are like the extra large keris one sees occasionally that are ritualistic examples of a working weapon. Sometimes smaller examples are found that researchers say would be too small for hunting, and these are also given as examples of the non-utilitarian nature of hand axes. This is why I wanted pictures of extra large and extra small keris, so I could make an argument about a utilitarian form and its variations.

It just seems to me that for a form to stay stable over an inconceivable amount of time, it must be linked to a very obvious function.
Josh
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Old 19th April 2012, 12:33 AM   #7
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IT MIGHT GET MORE COMMENTS IF YOU BRING OVER A PICTURE TO THIS POST.
WHEN I LOOK AT IT I SEE 4 PRIMARY EDGES.
1. THE ROUNDED AX END WITH THE DAMMAGE. LIKELY USED BY HOLDING OR HAFTING THE SMALLER TAPERED END.
2. A CONCAVE CUTTING EDGE
3. A CONVEX CUTTING EDGE
4. A SHARP END FOR PUNCHING,PECKING OR CHISELING IN SMALLER PALCES OR MAKEING A HOLE.
ALL FOUR EDGES WORK BETTER IN SOME APPLICATIONS THAN OTHERS.
ANY ROCK WORKS WELL AS A WEAPON IF YOU ARE AN ACCURATE AND STRONG THROWER. THE FORM OF THIS ITEM WOULD NOT BE MY FIRST CHOICE AS A THROWING ROCK BUT IT COULD BE USED.
SOME STONE TOOLS HAVE A KNOB OR BUMP OF ROCK THAT IS INTENTIONALY LEFT ON THE SIDE OF THE TOOL FOR THE THUMB TO REST AGAINST AND GIVE A BETTER GRIP WHILE USING THE TOOL.
CELTS HAVE ONE EDGE, MOST POINTS HAVE TWO EDGES, SOME KNIVES HAVE UP TO 4 EDGES WITH OPPOSITE BEVELS FOR EXAMPLE THE HARIHAIE KNIFE (SPELLING ??) SERREATED TOOLS WHICH WERE PERHAPS USED TO SAW ARE AROUND TOO. SO WHY NOT A MULTI TOOL?

A FEW PICTURES JUST FOR FUN.
TWO PICTURES OF A ESKIMO ULU WITH WOODEN HANDLE
ONE EGYPTIAN FLINT SERRATED KNIFE WITH HANDLE AND TWO POINTS
THREE PICTURES OF A EGYPTIAN DAGGER WITH CARVED HIPPO IVORY HANDLE. ESTIMATED 3250 BC.
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Last edited by VANDOO : 19th April 2012 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 19th April 2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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OK, here are two objects with a 52mm lens cap for scale. The one on the right is a typical hand axe on the larger end of the normal range. The smaller object is the one with a handle and a single acute bevel. (edit: these photos were too big and have been resized in the following post.) They were found at the same site, and appear to be from the same culture. The tool is quite obvious in possible uses, but the hand axe, while versatile, does not have an obvious application, yet is a form that shows much less variation than the tools. Tool like objects vary much more than what is seen in the hand axes.

The other pictures show the tool with the original natural patterns in the rock cortex that may have been chosen by the maker with an aesthetic of some sort and a medium sized hand axe from the same site.

Homo erectus did not have any cloth or rope that we know of, and did not put hafts on the lithics. The Neolithic objects shown in the last post would all be recognizable as knife like objects to pretty much anyone in the last 40,000 years. Why don't we recognize the hand axes so easily?
Josh
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Old 19th April 2012, 03:27 PM   #9
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Here are resized versions of the picture I was talking about.

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Old 19th April 2012, 10:57 PM   #10
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THE DIET OF HOMO ERECTIS WOULD HELP CLARIFY USE. IF HE ATE PRIMARLY PLANTS, ROOTS, GRUBS, TERMITES ECT WE COULD SEE THIS TOOL USED TO SCRAPE OFF STRIPS OF BARK, CRACK NUTS, POKE A HOLE IN A TERMITE MOUND OR CHOP INTO A ROTTEN LOG LOOKING FOR GRUBS. IT MAY HAVE BEEN USED TO SHAPE A DIGGING STICK OR OTHER THINGS AS WELL.
THE CLOSEST WE CAN COME TO THIS IN HISTORICAL TIMES WOULD BE SOME TRIBES OF AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINALS. THEY HUNTED AS WELL AS FORAGED FOR FOOD I SUSPECT THESE HAND AX APPLIED MORE TO THE FORAGING TYPE OF LIFESTYLE.
AS TO NOT HAVING CORD OR ROPE WE CAN'T BE SURE AS NONE OF THAT WOULD HAVE SURVIVED. ABUNDENT FIBERS DO OCCUR IN NATURE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN USED AS THEY WERE. TREE BARK, FIBEROUS GRASS, ANIMAL HIDES, PALM AND PANDANUS FIBERS AND LEAVES ECT.
WE CAN REST ASSURED THIS SHAPE WAS DESIGNED BY THE MAKERS AND HAD SPECIFIC USES AS THEY WIDELY REPEATED THE FORM. THEY MAY HAVE EVEN USED IT TO FASHON WOODEN WEAPONS, CLUBS THROWING STICKS ECT BUT THESE WOULD HAVE LEFT NO TRACES EITHER.
WE CAN ONLY GUESS AT HOW INTELLEGENT PRIMATIVE MAN WAS OR HOW ADVANCED HE WAS. WE CAN ONLY GUESS AT HOW INTELLEGENT MANY LIVING SPECIES ARE AND WE HAVE THEM TO STUDY SO THOSE IN THE FAR PAST WILL REMAIN LARGELY UNKNOWN.
ARCHEOLOGY IS NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE SO MUCH MATERIAL IS GONE AND CANNOT BE FOUND AND MANY OF THE THINGS FOUND CAN BE MISINTERPETED OR BRING UP MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS. BUT MUCH HAS BEEN LEARNED ITS SORT OF LIKE A CONNECT THE DOTS PICTURE TOO COMPLICATED TO TELL WHAT IT IS UNTIL ENOUGH DOTS HAVE BEEN CONNECTED.
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Old 20th April 2012, 03:05 AM   #11
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The consensus is that H. erectus was a scavenger, and that his big brain was made possible by his and his immediate ancestor H. habilis ability to use stone tools to scavenge kills. H. habilis "the handyman" was the first to make stone tools, and it is thought that the tools were specifically made to crack big bones for the marrow. The Oldawan technology developed by H. habilis, of rounded pebbles and cobbles with a single sharp chipped edge, lasted for a few hundred thousand years

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:P...op ie_fond.jpg)

and was inherited by H. erectus who took it out of Africa. The Acheulian hand axe replaced this technology about a million years ago. The hand axe largely replaced Oldawan technology until it hit Asia. In Asia for an unknown reason the Oldawan survived. Some people think it was the bamboo.
Josh
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