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Subjectivity inherent in by-eye symmetry judgements and the large cutting tools at the Cave of Hearths, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Record type: Article

The Stone Age of South Africa is an area of study due for a renaissance, and there is a real need for unification of the extant evidence. As a beginning to this, new methodologies have been proposed. This paper tackles the issue of symmetry, specifically the subjectivity involved in by-eye judgements. Assumptions of subjectivity, however, are not proof: presented here is a critical analysis of the inherent bias of by-eye symmetry judgements. Ultimately it is clear that the method contains a level of subjectivity which strips it of any analytical value. The by-eye judgement of symmetry is replaced by the more robust Flip Test computer program, and a brief study is made of the Large Cutting Tools (LCT) at a vitally important, yet often overlooked, site dating from the Pleistocene in South Africa, the Cave of Hearths, Limpopo province. The corollary is that the symmetry present in the Cave of Hearths Large Cutting Tools can be studied with some measure of confidence: suggestions are made regarding the nature of tool typologies and the knappers’ ultimate focus on tip shape and utility.

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Citation

Underhill, David (2007) Subjectivity inherent in by-eye symmetry judgements and the large cutting tools at the Cave of Hearths, Limpopo Province, South Africa Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 18, pp. 101-113.

More information

Published date: 2007
Keywords: anova, by-eye, cave of hearths, flip test, large cutting tools, subjectivity, symmetry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 63452
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/63452
ISSN: 0965-9315
PURE UUID: c08c3860-f8f5-4baf-b94a-6512754479c1

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Oct 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:17

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Contributors

Author: David Underhill

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