Refereed Article Early Australian implement variation: a reduction model

Citation: Hiscock, P. and Attenbrow, V.J. 2003. Early Australian implement variation: a reduction model. Journal of Archaeological Science. 30. 230-249.


The composition of lithic assemblages is typically depicted in terms the relative abundance of different implement types. In this paper we hypothesize that the characteristics of early Australian assemblages said to distinguish those types are part of a morphological continuum, and that this continuum is largely explained as a reflection of different levels of reduction. We demonstrate the viability of this perspective at one of the classic sites at which early industries were defined, Capertee 3. The existence of an Australian technology structured around continuous reduction without evidence of “imposed form” reveals that this pattern is widespread and should not be taken to represent an “archaic” approach to stone working. Implications for conventional interpretations of Palaeolithic stone implements are briefly examined.

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