Summary | Raw material | Raw material procurement | Hammerstones | Nodule reduction and technology | Refrain said when knapping chert | Selection of flakes for use | Locations where men work with chert tools | Use and terminology | Storage and discard | Ritual uses of stone

4.6 Selection of flakes for use

There is a general agreement (e.g. Sillitoe 1988; Strathern 1969, White and Thomas 1972; White 1968) that the only criteria for flake selection in Highland New Guinea were that a tool had a sharp edge and was of a convenient size and shape to hold in the hand. White and Thomas (1972) state that edge angle entered into the selection process only marginally, noting that 'all except the very obtuse edges may be used'. Evidence from the present assemblage suggests that edge angle was the primary factor in tool selection among the Wola, though size and overall shape were also important.

White and others (White 1968; White and Thomas 1972; White and Modjeska 1978; White et al. 1977), working among the Duna, who live to the north-east of the Wola, were able to separate tools into five different functional groups on the basis of macroscopic wear patterns, though these categories were not recognised by the users and individuals often classified tools in different ways (White and Thomas 1972).


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Last updated: Wed Oct 8 2003