My research addresses human adaptation to Quaternary environments. Working with undergraduate and graduate students and Ethiopian colleagues, I deal with realistic experimental studies of primitive technology and telltale macroscopic and microscopic wear traces, mostly on stone tools. These studies are fundamental to understanding Middle Stone Age archaeology in Ethiopia, because they provide a comparative analytical basis for understanding the function of ancient stone artifacts.
2014. Kay, Marvin and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr. Functional Analysis of Prismatic Blades and Bladelets from Pinson Mounds, Tennessee. Journal of Archaeological Science Volume 50, October 2014, Pages 63–83. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.06.019
1996. Microwear analysis of some Clovis and experimental chipped stone tools. In Stone Tools: Theoretical Insights into Human Prehistory, edited by George H. Odell, pp. 315-344. Plenum Press, New York. (1996)
Imprints of ancient tool use at Monte Verde. In Monte Verde: A Late Pleistocene Settlement in Chile, Volume II: The Archaeological Findings, edited by Tom D. Dillehay. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. (in press).