8. Conclusions

Considering a lithic assemblage and its use without recourse to traditional categories is both liberating and informative, but also challenging. This case study has perhaps been disappointing in some respects, as it revealed a lack of association between the form of the cutting edge and the material used. However, the results have also been revealing as they point to a preponderance of wear suggesting the cutting of bone and hard material, and the possibility that some tool production was destined for use elsewhere – both of which are significant in supporting the 'traditional' hunting camp interpretation of the site. Further, use of this technique both at March Hill and other sites can only build on these promising initial findings. Of key significance, and something a 'classical' approach would likely have missed, is the number of unworked tools from the site. This offers a possible window into the minds of past people and could be used to infer desires or routine, whether related to movement or stockpiling habits.

A traditional microwear analysis of the March Hill assemblage would most probably have focused on a few 'finished' tools or pieces with clear use wear. The approach from the Argentine-Catalan perspective has generated new insights at this preliminary stage which, it is hoped, might be useful for other sites and assemblages. A morphotechnical approach also opens up new and exciting avenues for addressing social processes in considering the spatial distribution of structural patterns in the assemblage, which lie beyond traditional typologically based interpretations.

Not only has the Argentine-Catalan team's method been an inspiration to us, the theoretical position from which it stemmed, that of a Marxist interpretation of labour and identifying technological artefacts as objects pivotal in the social sphere, is also of interest. While it is perhaps premature to apply this in depth at this early stage to the aforementioned results from March Hill, it is hoped that future work will facilitate the incorporation of this interesting theoretical position into what has proven here to be a useful and liberating methodological approach. Our ultimate goal is to see the marrying of the robust scientific methodology here outlined with theoretical concepts to produce a cohesive, informative whole which, it is hoped, will allow us to uncover further interesting insights from March Hill.


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Last updated: Wed Jul 29 2009