Technology and Society

Composite technology, the attaching of two (or more) items together to make a third, is considered one of the key indicators of cognitive development as it requires the ability to plan and conduct a suite of subtasks with important implications for the emergence of modern human behaviour. Use of fibres to bind, that could also be embedded with bitumen or pitch glue, was the only way to do this, before complex woodworking and use of metals developed.  There is currently little direct, but significantly more indirect, evidence for the use of twisted fibres stretching deep into the Palaeolithic, including evidence for hafting, sea transport, bone awls and needles, and perforated and hung beads.

Extracting and preparing the fibres for use, can take weeks, and due to the essential nature of fibres in all composite technology, their rapid decay and the huge amounts required for looping technologies (e.g. to make nets), the demand for fibres would have been incessant with significant implications for time management and individual and group movement. PP will search for archaeological evidence of fibre technologies using a range of archaeological and archaeobotanical methods, as well as experimental and ethnographic evidence and will investigate the social implications of this largely sedentary, time-consuming technology.

LINKED PROJECTS Twisted fibre technology, Ground stone tools, Dental calculus, Archaeobotany, Paleoecology