Verifying the potential of micro-focus X-ray computed tomography in the study of ancient bone tool function

Justin Bradfield, Jakobus Hoffman, Frikkie De Beer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The results of 22 micro-focus X-ray computer tomography (micro-CT) scans of one-hundred-year-old bone arrowheads and link-shafts are presented. These data build on previous experimental research that sought to establish a new use-trace method for identifying archaeological bone arrowheads where surface damage is lacking. The results presented here confirm the potential of micro-CT for imaging bone micro-structure but highlight the variable conditions under which micro-cracks and fatigue fractures may develop. Micro-cracks associated with impact crushing occur more often than those associated with bending forces, but cannot be used in isolation to ascribe hunting function. Link-shafts are more likely to develop micro-structural damage unrelated to hunting activities. In order for micro-structural damage to be informative about the nature of use, a 'tool' must have been frequently used in order for sufficient damage to accrue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-84
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Keywords

  • Arrow hunting identification
  • Bone micro-structure
  • Micro-focus computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Archeology

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