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Freelance consultant, learning facilitator, and writer, founder of extreme-inventing.com, ooleee.net (with artist Gary King), knowledgecafe0151. Teach technology entrepreneurship at School of Engineering at University of Liverpool, UK. I have a longstanding and avid interest in Technology as a unique human phenomenon. I'm actively engaged in research on how enterprising individuals shape material culture through inventing and innovating, with palaeoanthropologists at the Dept. of Archaeology, Egyptology and Classics, also at University of Liverpool.

Extreme Picks

Another good example of extreme inventing, exemplary in fact. This is a pick made from deer antler and used for digging in prehistoric times. Examples are found all over Europe. Recalling that extreme inventing is about recognising and then incorporating the property of a found object into a new technical system, this is a perfect example. Antlers may have been shed by deer, or left over from butchering a hunted carcasse. Either way, the prehistoric inventor recognised and used several properties of this object. First shape or perhaps we should say morphology, then weight or mass, and then hardness of the bone material of which antlers are made (compared to, say, a wooden branch of similar shape. The shape provides leverage also. Once the pick point has dug into the ground, it can be pushed forward and in so-doing lever out material, such as stones. As the picture below shows. antler picks were quite a size. In some cases, they were long enough to reach the ground and so could be used in preparing ground for planting.They were also used to mine, for example, in extracting copper ore. Material hardness means the tool has a long life, and stays sharper for longer.


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