Visiting Speaker - Simon Holdaway, University of Auckland

Monday, June 30, 2014 - 16:30 - 18:00

Where: Room 1510 'Tree Island' Conference Room, Harbour Centre campus

When: 4:30-6pm, Monday 30th June

Simon Holdaway, from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Auckland, will be visiting HESP and presenting the following talk:

Stone artefact dispersal across a landscape: how different is this to cigarette butt disposal?

Stone artefacts are so ubiquitous in some parts of semi-arid Australia that they are sometimes described as forming a background scatter punctuated by denser patches identified as sites. A modern day analogue might be the distribution of cigarette butts that are scattered around many public places. Cigarettes are one use artefacts so their clustering is a material record of the spatial distribution of smoking events. However, stone artefacts are not single use items, once made and used they can be reused and even remade. It is therefore useful to consider what impact this reuse has on the nature of their distribution in the archaeological record. Here I consider assemblages of stone artefacts from semi-arid regions of Australia as accumulations of clasts and consider how we might draw inferences about their depositional history. Results lead me to propose that the types of behavioural inferences drawn from stone artefacts need to be radically reassessed.