Williams, Erin Marie Shepard, George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Influences of Material Properties and Biomechanics on Stone Tool Production,' supervised by Dr. Alison S. Brooks
ERIN MARIE SHEPARD WILLIAMS, then a student at George Washington University, Washington, DC, was awarded funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Influences of Material Properties and Biomechanics on Stone Tool Production,' supervised by Dr. Alison S. Brooks. Later Homo possesses a derived thumb that is robust and long relative to the other digits, with enhanced musculature compared to extant apes and early hominins. Researchers have hypothesized that this anatomy was selected in part to withstand high forces acting on the thumb during stone tool production. Previous studies indirectly support this hypothesis; however, direct data on loads experienced during stone tool production and their distribution across the hand are lacking. Using a dynamic pressure sensor system and 3-D motion capture technology, manual forces and pressures were collected from six experienced knappers replicating Oldowan tools. Knappers used hammerstones requiring a 3-jaw chuck grip. Peak and strike forces and pressures and impulse and pressure-time integrals were consistently significantly greater on the 2nd and/or 3rd digits compared to the 1st across all subjects. Kinematics data revealed that this distribution pattern was not consistently present during up-swing, however it was established during the down-swing pre-strike phase and continued through swing termination. These results do not support the hypothesis that loads experienced during stone tool production are significantly higher on the thumb compared to the other digit, calling into question hypotheses linking modern human thumb anatomy specifically to stone tool production load resistance.
Williams, Erin Marie, Adam D. Gordon, and Brian G. Richmond. 2012. Hand Pressure Distribution during Oldowan Stone Tool Production. Journal of Human Evolution 62(4):520-532.
Hildebrand, Dr. Elisabeth A., Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'The Origins of Enset Cultivation: Archaeological Excavations in Southwest Ethiopia,'
DR. ELISABETH ANNE HILDEBRAND, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, received funding in October 2004 to investigate 'The Origins of Enset Cultivation: Archaeological Excavations in Southwest Ethiopia.' From 2004-2006, Hildebrand and colleagues did seven months of survey and excavation of rockshelters in Kafa. Survey documented 25 rockshelters, nine of which were subjected to test excavations. Two rockshelters, Kumali and Koka, have intact sediments of substantial depth with artifacts throughout. Koka, a lowland shelter, has moderate amounts of non-obsidian lithics, bone, ceramics, and plant remains. Kumali, a cavity in a highland basalt escarpment, has abundant ceramics and obsidian microliths; well-preserved bone, leather, and shell; and dense concentrations of desiccated macrobotanical remains and dung. Analyses are yielding the first cultural chronology for southwest Ethiopia, and important information about plant and animal subsistence intensification during the Holocene. Project activities included a field school for Addis Ababa University archaeology students, and coring of Kafa swamps and ponds to obtain paleoenvironmental data. Local modern vegetation studies funded through this grant, conducted by Addis Ababa University botany MA students, will provide a more secure foundation for interpretation of paleoenvironmental and macrobotanical data.
Logan, Amanda Lee, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Practicing Change, Remembering Continuity: Incorporating Global Foods into Daily Routines in Banda, Ghana, AD 1000 - Present,' supervised by Dr. Carla M. Sinopoli
AMANDA L. LOGAN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Practicing Change, Remembering Continuity: Incorporating Global Foods into Daily Routines in Banda, Ghana (AD 1000 to Present),' supervised by Dr. Carla M. Sinopoli. This study examined how global pressures impacted daily life in West Africa through the lens of food and domestic architecture. Research focused on Banda, a region in west central Ghana that has seen sustained archaeological work that has documented shifts in political economy over the last 1000 years. Investigations focused on how people incorporated new crops into daily practice during each of these shifts, and whether or not dietary continuities and changes corresponded with changes in domestic architecture. People relied mostly on indigenous grains pearl millet and sorghum for much of the last millennium. Maize, a high yielding American crop, arrived quickly in Banda (c. 1660), but did not become a staple until the 1890s under conditions of political and economic duress associated with the shift to market economies and colonial rule. These data point to the political underpinnings of food insecurity, and suggest that in the Banda area such problems did not emerge until quite late. Shifts in house form and construction techniques also hint at shifts in standard of living as Banda moved from an important node in Niger trade to a periphery in the modern world system.
Muia, Mulu, U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL - To aid research on 'Changes in Lithic Technology and Origin of Modern Human Behavior in Ntuka, Southwest Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Stanley H. Ambrose
MULU MUIA, then a student at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, was awarded funding in February 2005 to aid research on 'Changes in Lithic Technology and Origin of Modern Human Behavior in Ntuka, Southwest Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Stanley H. Ambrose. The grant was used: 1) to expand excavations at two sites (GvJh11 and GvJh12) that had been excavated extensively previously, but whose sample size was small; and 2) to carry out new excavations at three other sites (GvJh21, GvJh78 and GvJh81) that had been test excavated. Artifacts recovered were made mostly of obsidian, lava and cherts. Faunal remains were limited mostly to teeth. Analysis of the artifacts sought to understand the process of technological change from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) to the Later Stone Age (LSA). The first step in the analysis focused on recording the various tool classes (the typology) and the raw materials so that the diversity of both in the MSA and LSA can be quantified. To understand raw material procurement strategies, all pieces were examined for cortex. Metric dimensions (length, width, and thickness) for all finished tools were recorded using electronic calipers. Flakes were examined for platform preparation by recording the presence or absence of facets. Where facets were present, they were counted. Platform width, thickness, and angle were recorded to identify flaking techniques.
Rosso, Daniela Eugenia, U. Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France - To aid research on 'Technological and Physicochemical Characterization of MSA Pigments from Porc-Epic Cave (Dire Dawa, Ethiopia),' supervised by Dr. Francesco D'Errico
Preliminary abstract: We will apply novel methodology to the analysis of the pigments and pigment processing tools from Porc-Epic cave (Dire Dawa, Ethiopia) with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the emergence of pigment related technology in this region, evaluating its complexity, and discussing the implications of our results for the debate on the origin of 'behavioural modernity'. Porc-Epic is a Middle and Later Stone Age cave site. Research conducted during our Master's has highlighted that this site has yielded the richest collection of pigments in quantity thus far, and a variety of processing tools. Porc-Epic is one of the rare Palaeolithic sites at which most of the stages of pigment treatment can be recorded. Contextual, mineralogical, colorimetric, morphometric, technological, and functional information will be recorded in a comprehensive database. We will analyze all the pigments and processing tools from the 1975-1976 excavations. They consist of 4233 lumps of red and yellow material, with traces of anthropogenic modification, and 23 processing tools. Pigments will be studied using Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy, XRF, μ-XRD, PIXE Spectrometry, and Raman spectroscopy. A petrographic analysis of the pigments and a survey of the area will be conducted to identify the geological sources.
Swanepoel, Dr. Natalie Josephine, U. of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa - To aid research on 'A Regional Archaeology of Trade, Warfare, and Big Men in Pre-Colonial Northern Ghana'
Swanepoel, Natalie. 2009. Every Periphery Is It's Own Center: Sociopolitical and Economic Interacctions in nineteenth-Century Northwestern Ghana. International Journal of African Historical Studies 42:(3) 411-432.
Swanepoel, Natalie. 2008. View from the Village: Changing Settlement Patterns in Sisaland, Northern Ghana. International Journal of African Studies 41(1):1-27
Egeland, Dr. Charles Peter, U. of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC - To aid research on 'Geochemical and Physical Characterization of Lithic Raw Materials in the Olduvai Basin, Tanzania'
Preliminary abstract: The study of raw materials has traditionally been deeply embedded in analyses of the Early Stone Age, and the impact of source rock characteristics on early hominin ranging behavior and technological variation is now widely acknowledged. Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, apart from being one of the most well-known paleoanthropological sites in the world, is also home to a great diversity of potential sources for the production of stone tools. While the