FWD: RE: Culture/Flintknapping

John Cole. (jrc@TEI.UMASS.EDU)
Sun, 18 Aug 1996 18:53:41 -0400

Jesse Cook wrote:

Dear Nick:

May I point out that John Cole was not talking about teaching himself but
about teaching others. So, your experience does not "back up John's
observations". (Where and what did he "observe" I wonder?) Teaching
oneself and teaching others is not the same thing.

Furthermore, while you were teaching yourself, did you not have any internal
dialogue? Was your "trial and error" completely without any language

Also, when you "and a few others" were engaged in this activity 30 years
ago, was it done in complete silence? Were there no comments passed back
and forth as the "few hours" passed?

Again, it might have taken only "a few hours" to teach yourself, but that
doesn't mean it would take only "a few hours" to teach someone else. And,
after 30 years, can you say with assurance how many hours "a few hours" was?

Finally, were the "Magdelenian [sic] stone tools" thus produced of
sufficient quality to serve the purpose for which the neandertal would have
intended them? Did you try them out to see if they would serve?

Cole replies:
*I*bumbled along imitating exatant artifacts, or trying to--then I watched a
small-time amateur expert do it and I immediately caught on to a lot of
things; watching a film of Francois Bordes further helped, and then I observed
really good flint-knappers in person and got better, fast! I at least, learned
better by immitation, and I have found that I TEACH it much better that way
(with limited, basic communication, reinforcement, etc.). I hope this is not
simply an artifgact of being uniquely inarticulate...........