Bone Technology at Üçağızlı Cave , Turkey

In Eurasia, bone or “osseous” technology is generally considered a hallmark of early Upper Paleolithic cultures, although bone artifacts occur earlier than this in Africa. Osseous artifacts are known from early Upper Paleolithic sites in the eastern Mediterranean basin, but they are almost never common or elaborate. Osseous technology in the forms of bone and antler tools occur in small numbers throughout the early Upper Paleolithic sequence of Üçağızlı I cave. The pointed tools are mainly awl-like forms, carved to a sharp point at one end and unshaped at the other.


The majority of the pointed osseous artifacts were made from fragments of the leg bones of hoofed animals such as fallow deer and wild pig. A few pointed tools are much larger than the average, usually broken, and exceptionally well-crafted. One such specimen from layer H appears to have been made from the fibula of a large wild boar. A similar, complete version of this artifact type was found in Layer F during the 2007 excavation season. The thicker, unworked end of one of the fibula artifacts exhibits gnawing damage from a small carnivore, probably a fox. Though extensively worked and polished, these particular artifacts may not have been projectile weapons but rather served as decorative pins, very large awls or both. All of the bone artifacts were crafted mainly by shaving motions and minimal to no grinding. A few other osseous tools were made from deer antler and served mainly as wedges and soft hammers.


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Bone Technology





Broken Bone Tool



Complete Bone Tool

ry early dates for bone tools, ornaments and decorated objects in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and possibly Israel have led scholars to argue that many characteristics of the Upper Paleolithic in Eurasia are attributable to the expansion of anatomically and behaviorally modern humans out of Africa. However, other researchers believe these developments to be local or indigenous, reflecting parallel evolutionary trends.