Steel Axes For Stone-Age Australians Summary

579 Words3 Pages
In his article “Steel Axes for Stone-Age Australians,” Lauriston Sharp discusses the traditional Yir Yoront culture of Australia in the mid 1930s and the importance and function of the stone axe in the in terms of technology, conduct, and belief in the culture. Sharp evaluates that the colonization of various Europeans had resulted into the introduction of new technologies that they had brought along with them. The article mainly focuses on the steel axes that were introduced which outweighed the stone axes previously used by these people and has thus drastically affected the Yir Yoront culture. Ultimately, the author concludes that the traditional culture of this aboriginal tribe had collapsed and a new culture incorporated with European values…show more content…
Technologically, only men possessed the knowledge about the materials used and the techniques of manufacturing the stone axes. Women and children could use the axes, but were not allowed to make them. The stone axe had become an integral part of the society and was used for many activities, such as obtaining food, household purposes, building huts, cutting firewood etc. There was a certain area where the stones necessary for making these axes were found. This formed a chain of tradesmen throughout the country. People would exchange readymade stone axes with the raw materials amongst each other. This was evident in the kinship patterns, based on “pair relationships,” which defined who could own an axe and from whom one would borrow an axe based on gender, age, and kinship roles. This formed a certain kind of hierarchy. Finally, in terms of the Yir Yoront cultural system, “the stone axe in all its aspects, uses, and associations was integrated into the context of the Yir Yoront technology and conduct because a myth, a set of ideas, had put it there” (20). People in this culture believed that everything that was the part of their culture and everything that an individual in the tribe did was an important link to their past. They believed they were following their ancestors and were meant to do that. The stone axe played an important part in this belief system because it was believed to have descended from their

More about Steel Axes For Stone-Age Australians Summary

Open Document