Summary | Introduction | Method of Analysis | Sample for analysis | Results of the functional analysis | Analysis of the functional results | Statistical analysis of use-wear data | Ethnographic data | Users | Change in edge angles | Relations between the four phases | Discussion

6.7 Ethnographic data

The final phase of variables in the dataset comprised all the 'ethnographic data'. These were kept separately and, in order to avoid unintentional bias, were added after the archaeological use-wear examination of the tools was completed; they included the following:

The polish variables were tested against the amount of time the tools had been used and their different users. No significant relationship was found with any of the polish patterns. This suggests that the polish patterns are related to the material on which a tool is used and not the length of time for which it is used or the person who uses it.

Examination of 'polish distribution type' shows that for all materials except rattan, vine, tree fern and butchery, an 'edge only even' distribution is more common (Table 11). Rattan, vine and butchery left significantly more (P<0.001) tools with asymmetric polish traces because these are all pliable materials.

Table 11. Effect of type of material worked on the number of tool surfaces* showing various polish distributions
 Polish distribution type
Material workededge only evenedge only asymmetricaway from the edgedifferential
tree fern 2 2 3
cane grass11 42 
rattan 6 15   1
vine 3 9  
butchering 1 2  

*Each tool had two surfaces, dorsal and ventral which could show polish and hence the numbers are double the number of tools.

Examination of polish invasiveness (Table 12) again shows that tools used on rattan, vine, tree fern and butchery are more likely (P<0.05) to produce tools with a greater depth and range of polish on the edge. Polish invasiveness of tools used on harder materials occurs more in the 'edge only' and '<0.5 µ' categories.

Table 12. Number of surfaces showing different extents of polish invasiveness on tools used on different materials
Material worked edge only <0.5 µ >0.5 µ
tree fern331
cane grass1070

Examination of polish development reveals a similar, but weaker, pattern (Table 13). Weighted score is based on allocating values of 1 to A, 2 to A+ and so on, and finding the arithmetic mean. Again, vine and butchery stand out as different to other materials; both leave more pieces with more developed polish on them.

Table 13. The number of tool surfaces showing different extents of effect of polish development and the weighted score of polish development after use on different materials
Material worked A A+ B B+ C weighted score
tree fern024102.86
cane grass1212202.88
wood 2 5 20 13 0 3.10
bamboo 1 1 13 4 2 3.19
rattan 1 4 10 4 3 3.18
vine 0 0 6 6 2 3.71
butchering 0 0 1 0 2 4.33

While these results reveal a tendency for tools used on vine and butchery to differ from the others, this only became evident after they had been grouped by raw material worked on. Though more work is needed, these findings suggest that emphasis should be placed on a more detailed understanding of the mechanisms of use-wear polish as a method for determining tool use.


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Last updated: Wed Oct 8 2003