Sorry - sent my reply directly to John when I meant it to go to the list! Sorry John.
On 4 Nov 2015, at 9:52 am, John Wood <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
"If this actually art, where have all the cutting surfaces gone? Surely they had them."
An interesting question. I have never seen mention of cutting surfaces with Australian cultures. Wouldn’t they have just used whatever was lying around? Why would they reuse a particular piece of stone?
I am not sure if the archaeologists believe the ice age culture they are investigating was nomadic or mobile, but our Aboriginal cultures are mobile - moving between a set of camps over the annual cycle dependent on resources. They didn’t carry stone objects larger than spearheads and so on, with them. They would have been too heavy. The objects carved with mnemonics which were carried were wood, so any equivalent wouldn’t have survived into the archaeological record.
The stone objects carved with abstract designs, such as the tjuringa / churinga were secreted in locations near ceremonial places but would never have been used as cutting surfaces.
I guess they could have left cutting surfaces at campsites as they did grindstones. I work with museum collections and have never seen anything considered a cutting board nor ever heard of such a thing in discussion of Aboriginal tool kits. I can’t imagine why they would need one. I am married to an archaeologist who has also never heard of such a thing.
It will be fascinating to see what the analysis of these objects turns up.
Dr Lynne Kelly
Honorary Research Associate
La Trobe University | Bundoora VIC 3086 Australia
E: [log in to unmask] | W: www.latrobe.edu.au