Bone tool analysis

Ryan J. Rabett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the osseous technologies that can be created from animal skeletons. 'Tool' status is accorded to a skeletal element or fragment that has been modified subsequent to its isolation from the carcass. Such anthropic adaptation may be deliberate (e.g., through manufacture) and/or appear as a result of utilization, and is granted in instances where these details cannot otherwise be ascribed to alternative nonanthropic causes. Implements can display a combination of traces from both human and natural sources and as such the study of them involves both zooarchaeological (i.e., via animal ecology, hunting, and butchery) and technological analysis.... As an exemplar of this, the following discussion will present some of the similarities and differences that exist between osseous and lithic raw materials and tool-blank production, and will situate both in an operational sequence of animal procurement and processing. It will then give an account of principal manufacturing techniques, methods for establishing tool function, and the phenomenon of 'pseudo tools'. © 2008

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Archaeology
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780123739629
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Blanks
  • Bone
  • Butchery
  • Ethnographic
  • Experimental
  • Human-animal interaction
  • Manufacturing
  • Operational sequence
  • Osseous
  • Pseudo tools
  • Technology
  • Use wear
  • Zooarchaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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