The ground stone industry of the Mursi of Maki, Ethiopia: Ethnoarchaeological research on milling and crushing equipment (technique and function)

  • Jérôme Robitaille École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
Keywords: ethnography, ground stone tools, morphometry, use-wear, Mursi, Ethiopia

Abstract


New ethnoarchaeological evidence is currently contributing to a better understanding of the techniques and functions related to the use of stone tools for grinding and milling. This paper explores how the Mursi people in Maki, Ethiopia use handstones in different ways and how they also use different types of handstones for preparation of a variety of foods. Rather than a pestle and mortar, the Mursi have technically adjusted their tools (querns and handstones) and use them for milling as well as crushing. For example, by using querns for the preparation of grain Mursi women have adapted their techniques and may also use a different handstone (depending on the type of grain they have selected or the final product they wish to prepare). Somehandstones are reserved only for crushing grain, others are only for milling, and some have a double function (i.e. they are used for both milling and grinding). (The term “grinding” is used here in terms of the transformation of flour products, while the term “crushing” is used in terms of the transformation of material into pieces.) Is there a connection between the dimensions and the functions of each tool? Can the morphometric characteristics of handstones be related to different types of use? This paper presents new and unpublished ethnographic information showing such a correlation in terms of the Mursi people.

Author Biography

Jérôme Robitaille, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales - EHESS (siège)
190-198 Avenue de France 75244 Paris cedex 13
France
and
Laboratoire TRACES UMR5608
Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès Maison de la Recherche 5
allée Antonio Machado F-31058 Toulouse cedex 9
France

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Published
31-Oct-2016
How to Cite
Robitaille, J. (2016). The ground stone industry of the Mursi of Maki, Ethiopia: Ethnoarchaeological research on milling and crushing equipment (technique and function). Journal of Lithic Studies, 3(3), 429-456. https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v3i3.1680
Section
Papers Presented at the 1st Meeting of the Association for Ground Stone Tools Research