A Functional Study of MSA Points: Evidence from Mumba Rock-shelter, Tanzania

Pastory Magayane Bushozi


For many decades the function of stone points, abundant in the Middle Stone Age (MSA) assemblages across sub-Saharan Africa, has been a topic of debate. Recent functional studies and interpretations show that MSA points may have been used for hunting purposes. However, it is not known exactly whether these points were used as inserts for spears or arrows. In this study, about 104 points from MSA context have been studied using metric measurements, Tip Cross Section Area (TCSA) value, and use wear traces. The sample came from Level VI-B, VI-A and V of Mumba rock-shelter, northern Tanzania. Initial use-wear and TCSA results indicate that the majority of these could have been used as tip for hunting weapons, but they were not single function implements. Sometimes they performed non- weaponry functions such as they were deployed in butchering, slicing or wood processing. A Kolmogrov-Simirnon (KS) test shows continuity in point production and use over time regardless of variation in age

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