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Department of Archaeology

Monday, 20 November, 2023 - 16:00 to 17:00
Event speaker: 
Dr Amy Way, Australian Museum Research Institute

Backed artefacts, colloquially known as the ‘Swiss army knife of prehistory’ are a global phenomenon. Their proliferation in different times and places is often linked to their multi-functionality, which is seen to be particularly useful in times of environmental deterioration. Interestingly, while they could be produced in a wide variety of shapes and sizes they are often standardised in time and space. This internal standardisation has been attributed to either hafting requirements or social signalling. This paper presents the results of two backed artefact projects from two continents: Australia and Africa. In the Australian study standardisation appears to result from the repair and maintenance of a variety of hafted tools, while in African context standardisation appears to be linked to extensive social networks across southern Africa, in place by 65,000 years ago.

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Event location: 
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Seminar Room; Speaker will be online
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