Results of utilitarian and accidental breakage experiments on bone points

Justin Bradfield, Tyrone Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we present the results of two new experiments that assess the formation of macrofractures on bone tools subject to non-hunting-related activities. Our experiments were designed to assess the formation of macrofracture types that develop on bone tools that have been accidentally dropped and those that have been used in domestic activities, in this case, hide piercing. Whilst acknowledging that macrofracture analysts should take into account a margin of error when interpreting macrofracture results, our results suggest that the classification criteria for potential bone-tipped hunting weapons be refined to exclude all fractures other than spin-off fractures larger than 6 mm. We concur with other researchers that macrofracture analysis, while constituting a heuristically profitable tool, should be used as part of a multi-analytical approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Bone tools
  • Dropping damage
  • Experimental archaeology
  • Hide piercing
  • Macrofracture analysis
  • Use wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Anthropology
  • Archeology


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