Although not as old as artifacts made of stone, the manufacture and use of bone tools is of great antiquity, with the earliest known bone artifacts from Lower Paleolithic sites in Africa: Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) dating to 2.1-1.1 Ma and the sites of Swartkrans, Sterkfontein, Drimolen (South Africa), dated to around 1.8/1.7 Ma to 1.4/1.0 Ma (Bradfield and Choyke 2016). From this point on in time, alongside stone and metal artifacts, universally, people continued to manufacture and use bone tools. This practice continued even into recent times, as attested by innumerable ethnographic examples of bone artifacts and ornaments (e.g., Stordeur 1980; Ayalon and Sorek 1999; Walshe 2008; Legrand-Pineau et al. 2010; Stone 2011; Bradfield 2012). Often, lithic and metal tools were used for bone working, illustrating the continued value of bone even in historic periods.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Partial funding of this research was from a grant, to AMM, from the Israel Science Foundation (911/18).
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