Stone Knapping Lessons: Origins of Teaching, Language and Stone Tools
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 strongly indicates language ability, and this is what was to be measured by the experiments.
Not long after taking part in this experiment I was able to see a real master at work. John Lord has been refining his stone knapping techniques for many years, and I was able to see his work during a demonstration at Oxford Brookes University. It was extraordinary how much effort and technique is required to create effective stone tools, and seeing John Lord at work really made me realise how amazing stone technology actually is as a stage of human development.