Raw Material Availability and Technological Choice: Modified Metapodia from an Early Bronze Age Site in Central Israel
Article first published online: 29 JUL 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume 23, Issue 4, pages 379–394, July/August 2013
How to Cite
Allentuck, A. (2013), Raw Material Availability and Technological Choice: Modified Metapodia from an Early Bronze Age Site in Central Israel. Int. J. Osteoarchaeol., 23: 379–394. doi: 10.1002/oa.1258
- Issue published online: 17 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 29 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 30 APR 2011
- Manuscript Received: 1 NOV 2010
- bone raw material selection;
- Early Bronze Age;
- skeletal technology;
This paper explores the incongruous relationship between bone raw material availability and technological choice at the Early Bronze Age site of Horvat 'Illin Tahtit (HIT) in central Israel. At HIT, the worked bone assemblage is mostly comprised of minimally modified sheep and goat metapodia whose function(s) are enigmatic. Most specimens have longitudinally oriented scraping abrasions on at least one face, and of these, some have bilaterally symmetrical drilled perforations on the distal–posterior face. Furthermore, the distal epiphyseal plates of almost all worked metapodia are unfused, whereas unfused epiphyses are nearly absent from the general faunal assemblage. Worked goat metacarpals are significantly more common than sheep metacarpals or metatarsals of either species, despite the greater abundance of sheep over goat in the general faunal assemblage. This paper proposes that the desire to express specific visible attributes of the bone raw material was the key motivation in choosing unfused goat metacarpals over similar, more abundant choices. The analysis considers material properties such as bone mineral density and natural morphology and concludes that material properties between various choices were equivocal. This result suggests that social meanings attributed to specific animals and specific skeletal elements structured bone raw material procurement decisions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.