Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution & Anthropology 

Stone Tools in Human Evolution: Behavioral Differences Among Technological Primates

  • Presents a novel approach to stone tool analysis
  • Helps students understand the role of stone tools in human evolution
  • Emphasizes lithic evidence in human evolution, while most palaeoanthropology texts emphasize the fossil evidence
  • The author is an engaging writer and has taught lithics and flintknapping courses for over twenty-five years

By: John J Shea(Author)

236 pages, 51 b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 26 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | May 2017 | #232022 | ISBN-13: 9781107554931
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £22.99 $30/€25 approx
Hardback | Apr 2017 | #232021 | ISBN-13: 9781107123090
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £64.99 $84/€71 approx

About this book

In Stone Tools in Human Evolution, John J. Shea argues that over the last three million years hominins' technological strategies shifted from occasional tool use, much like that seen among living non-human primates, to a uniquely human pattern of obligatory tool use. Examining how the lithic archaeological record changed over the course of human evolution, he compares tool use by living humans and non-human primates and predicts how the archaeological stone tool evidence should have changed as distinctively human behaviors evolved. Those behaviors include using cutting tools, logistical mobility (carrying things), language and symbolic artifacts, geographic dispersal and diaspora, and residential sedentism (living in the same place for prolonged periods). Shea then tests those predictions by analyzing the archaeological lithic record from 6500 years ago to 3.5 million years ago.


List of figures
List of tables
List of boxes
Introduction. Little questions vs big questions

1. Why archaeologists misunderstand stone tools
2. How we know what we think we know about stone tools
3. Describing stone tools
4. Stone cutting tools
5. Logistical mobility
6. Language and symbolic artifacts
7. Dispersal and diaspora
8. Residential sedentism
9. Conclusion

Appendix 1. Traditional age-stages and industries

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John J. Shea is Professor of Anthropology at State University of New York, Stony Brook. He is the author of Stone Tools in the Paleolithic and Neolithic Near East: A Guide (2013), and co-editor of Out of Africa 1: The First Hominin Colonization of Eurasia (2010). Shea is also an expert flintknapper whose demonstrations of stone tool production and other ancestral technology skills appear in numerous television documentaries and in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, as well as in the American Museum of Natural History, New York City.

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