Production and productivity: Bronze Age bone awls in the Southeastern Iberia
Bone awls are by far the most widely represented type of bone tool in the Argaric archaeological record. This is a feature that the Argaric sites share, in general, with the settlements of the so-called Valencian Bronze and La Mancha Bronze, contemporary societies located in the surrounding territories of the East and Southeastern Central area of the Iberian Peninsula.
Involved in the development of diverse activities, bone awls must have constituted a type of polyfunctional tool. Diverse parts of the skeleton of vertebrates, carefully selected, were used to manufacture them, in search of a greater morphological affinity with the desired tool, and in relation to this, to minimize the required investment of work for its transformation into a product.
The progressive generalization of metal tools, which began at the 3rd millennium BC in the south and southeast of the Iberian Peninsula, had, over time, consequences in the area of production and consumption of this type of artefacts, making some types of bone points, common in the archaeological record of the area since the Neolithic period, disappear. From the beginning of the Bronze Age, the production of bone awls in the settlements aimed to extend the useful life of the tools as much as possible, changed the selection of the skeletal parts with which to elaborate them and giving rise to a sensible increase in the recycling processes, higher to those observed in the Calcolithic period.