Stone Knapping Lessons: Origins of Teaching, Language and Stone Tools

Hallo everyone, sorry it has been a while since I last posted anything, Uni has kept me very busy!

I just wanted to share an experience I had helping Cory Cuthbertson, a PhD student, who was looking at the origins of teaching, language and stone tools. We were working with porcelain instead of flint, for control purposes, and we were told to watch a video of a person making a biface (hand axe). The video only served as a way for us to see someone making a biface, but provided no instruction aurally or visually. Myself and two other volunteers were part of this video learning group, but there were three other groups involved, each with it's own learning method: being taught silently, being taught normally, and having to 'figure it out alone'. 

My poor attempt at a biface (hand axe)...
The purpose of the experiment was to challenge hypotheses about the origins of teaching and language, using the medium of stone knapping. We were looking at Theory of Mind, which is 'thinking about thoughts', or the ability to theorise about the mental states of another; expressed in levels of intentionality. This theory of mind ability strongly indicates a language ability, and this is what was to be measured by the experiments.

Myself, knapping flint this time (for fun!)

It was an interesting experience that made us think about the way in which language and teaching could have developed (and it made us all appreciate how difficult stone knapping is!). If you would like to read more about this subject, then check out Cory's Academia page here. If you would like to read my short essay on the origins of stone tools then you can find it here.

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