Detecting microscopic aspects of Late Pleistocene to Early/Mid Holocene lithic technology in Island Southeast Asia: Perspectives from North and Central Sulawesi
Late Pleistocene lithic assemblages from North (Leang Sarru) and Central Sulawesi (Topogaro) were subjected to multi-stage use-wear analysis. This study provides new perspectives on seemingly simple flaked tools from Island Southeast Asia (ISEA). The results indicate the production of specialised organic-based technologies and varying technological developments on different locations c. 35kya. Analysis of stone tools from Leang Sarru have micro traces indicating intensive plant working while
... nt working while animal bone processing was more evident in Topogaro. Furthermore, evidence of composite tool technology using amorphous flakes as hafted implements, plant processing (polish and plant residues), and deliberate tool modification to create concave notched working edges indicate a complexity that is in contrast to previous assessments of stone tool technology as being undeveloped and stagnant. Current perspectives on amorphous expedient technologies should be reassessed, particularly since microscopic use-wear analysis clearly shows the potential to address issues on the lithic technology in ISEA that might have been missed by techno-typological approach, such as multi-functionality and variability of tool use. This research complements previous studies on amorphous flake tools, provides new significant results from a functional perspective, and scrutinises established but poorly substantiated concepts such as 'unchanging technology', 'bamboo technology', and 'smash-and-grab' strategy in the framework of a more encompassing traceological identification of prehistoric activities.