An acheulian balancing act: a multivariate examination of size and shape in handaxes from Amanzi Springs, Eastern Cape, South Africa
chapterposted on 14.01.2021, 22:28 by Matthew Caruana, Andrew Herries
'Landscapes of Human Evolution' is an edited volume in honour of John Gowlett. John has a wide range of research interests primarily focused on the human genus Homo, and is a world leader in understanding the cognitive and behavioural preconditions necessary for the emergence of complex behaviours such as language and art. Variation in handaxe shape has been a focal point for interpreting Acheulian assemblages and implications for behavioural and cognitive capacities in early hominins. The work of John Gowlett has had a significant impact on this research in examining the influence of size on handaxe forms. This has advanced multivariate methods for investigating the covariance of size and shape in these tools. Gowlett’s approach has been applied to a number of East African sites, albeit never extensively operationalised in South Africa. Here we provide a multivariate approach towards the function of allometry in South African handaxe assemblages with specific focus on Amanzi Springs. Our findings suggest continuity in allometric trends across Africa with some differences between eastern and southern sites.