Title

Comparative Analysis of Tool Cut Marks on Cattle Bone

Presenter Information

Caitlin Limberg
Robert Holstine

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Zooarchaeology, Cutmarks, Butchery

Abstract

The tools used in both consumption and butchering of animal foods leave signatures that can be used to distinguish material type. Experiments were conducted to establish the characteristics of cut marks on cattle bone left by a serrated steel knife, a straight-edged steel knife, an obsidian bifacial tool, a chert bifacial tool, an unmodified obsidian flake, and an unmodified chert flake. Comparative analysis of the slicing-marks showed the shape of slice marks created with the steel knives and obsidian flake were generally similar in width, depth and shape. Tool morphology played the largest role in dictating the shape of scrape marks, and tool edges defined by a pattern of bifacial flake scars or serration left clear signatures. Straight-edged tools left subtler characteristic scrape marks in the form of patches and striations, suggesting the direction of the tool stroke. Tool marks left by steel knives, straight-edged and serrated, were the most prominent, uniform, and consistent. The shape of marks left by the bifacial tools were incredibly similar, meaning differentiation between material types is difficult, and thus identification would likely only be able to be made to the level of bifacial stone tool.

Poster Number

47

Faculty Mentor(s)

Patrick Lubinski

Department/Program

Resource Management

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology & Museum Studies

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May 21st, 11:30 AM May 21st, 2:00 PM

Comparative Analysis of Tool Cut Marks on Cattle Bone

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

The tools used in both consumption and butchering of animal foods leave signatures that can be used to distinguish material type. Experiments were conducted to establish the characteristics of cut marks on cattle bone left by a serrated steel knife, a straight-edged steel knife, an obsidian bifacial tool, a chert bifacial tool, an unmodified obsidian flake, and an unmodified chert flake. Comparative analysis of the slicing-marks showed the shape of slice marks created with the steel knives and obsidian flake were generally similar in width, depth and shape. Tool morphology played the largest role in dictating the shape of scrape marks, and tool edges defined by a pattern of bifacial flake scars or serration left clear signatures. Straight-edged tools left subtler characteristic scrape marks in the form of patches and striations, suggesting the direction of the tool stroke. Tool marks left by steel knives, straight-edged and serrated, were the most prominent, uniform, and consistent. The shape of marks left by the bifacial tools were incredibly similar, meaning differentiation between material types is difficult, and thus identification would likely only be able to be made to the level of bifacial stone tool.