Review of LRU atricle on Hand axes: Symbolic or purely functional

This was a LRU paper instigated by an article titled 'Hand axes: products of sexual selection?' by Dr Steven Mithen and Dr Marek Kohn of Reading University.

In this paper published in the Journal of Antiquity 73 (1999), the authors inferred that symmetry in hand axes as old as 1.4 ma, equated greater sexual potential to the tool maker.

Gayle Spiller picked up on this article, and drafted a response to Dr Mithen querying the implications of his conclusions.

Gayle and Rob Walsh, wrote a paper in response to the article by Mithen and Kohn, agreeing that the larger hand axes could well represent symbols of status, but if that symbolism is ubiquitous to all forms of hand axes and biface assemblages, on the bases of status, sexual prowess, good genes etc, then it does strongly imply that hominids from 1.4 ma onwards, had the profound cognitive awareness of social hierarchy, playing complex games.

Gayle then asked the question, does Mithen's and Kohn's assertations make symmetrical hand axes even as old as 1.4 ma, the first primitive portable art form?

The finished draft of this paper was sent to Dr Mithen by LRU director Rob Walsh. He acknowledged receipt of this draft, but refused to comment further on the paper or to debate the conclusions drawn from his original article with Dr Marek Kohn.

                                      Image result for handaxes pics

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