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Abstract

One of the attractions of Easter Island is the grand display of a complex technology embodied in the archaeologIcal record-the ahu and associated statuary. Yet it is the smaller, less spectacular elements in other technological industries which provide the greatest insights into that prehistoric culture- into the industrial repertoire of one of the most isolated and environmentally impoverished islands in the south Pacific: into the ability of the prehistoric islander to adapt and make use of this environment; and into everyday routine (perhaps even mundane) activities of life on this small island. In particular, it is those elements of the material culture inventory which were either in production or use on a nearly daily basis and which display the indelible mark of the craftsman in form and across the surfaces--namely hand tools: those implements made either form stone or bone. Of the two, stone tools have at least been the subject of a few papers and articles discussing such topics as quarrying activity in the obsidian deposits; morphology, classification and analysis of expedient tools made from waste flakes: mata'a and even the chisels littering the statue quarry (see for example Beardsley et al. 1991; Ferdon 1961; Stevenson et al 1984: Ayres and Spear n.d.; Cheatham and Ayres n.d.). Bone tools and implements, on the other hand, have received virtually no attention; they have often been relegated to a brief note in a list of artifacts present at a given site (Ayres 1975: Ferdon 1961: Stevenson 1988).

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