Less than two decades ago, archaeologists considered lithic debitage, the flakes and debris left from the manufacture of stone tools, little more than uninformative waste. Since then, fieldworkers have increasingly recognized that stone flakes can provide information both singly and in aggregate.
Many methods are now available for analyzing lithic debitage, yet no single method is entirely reliable as a vehicle to meaningful interpretation of past behavior. Part of the problem lies in the disparity between tightly controlled experimental conditions and the difficulty of sorting individual sequences out of the masses of stone found in many archaeological sites. Contributors to this volume seek to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the more widespread and competing analytical forms while arguing for the use of multiple lines of evidence. As the title indicates, their primary focus is on mass analysis of aggregates rather than individual flakes. Thus several chapters also address problems of subdividing aggregates to better deal with the “mixed assemblages” generated by multiple factors over time.
Cemís are both portable artifacts and embodiments of persons or spirit, which the Taínos and other natives of the Greater Antilles (ca. AD 1000-1550) regarded as numinous beings with supernatural or magic powers. This volume takes a close look at the relationship between humans and other (non-human) beings that are imbued with cemí power, specifically within the Taíno inter-island cultural sphere encompassing Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The relationships address the important questions of identity and personhood of the cemí icons and their human “owners” and the implications of cemí gift-giving and gift-taking that sustains a complex web of relationships between caciques (chiefs) of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.
Oliver provides a careful analysis of the four major forms of cemís—three-pointed stones, large stone heads, stone collars, and elbow stones—as well as face masks, which provide an interesting contrast to the stone heads. He finds evidence for his interpretation of human and cemí interactions from a critical review of 16th-century Spanish ethnohistoric documents, especially the Relación Acerca de las Antigüedades de los Indios written by Friar Ramón Pané in 1497–1498 under orders from Christopher Columbus. Buttressed by examples of native resistance and syncretism, the volume discusses the iconoclastic conflicts and the relationship between the icons and the human beings. Focusing on this and on the various contexts in which the relationships were enacted, Oliver reveals how the cemís were central to the exercise of native political power. Such cemís were considered a direct threat to the hegemony of the Spanish conquerors, as these potent objects were seen as allies in the native resistance to the onslaught of Christendom with its icons of saints and virgins.
Over a 40-year period, Craig Johnson collected data on chipped stone tools from nearly 200 occupations along the Missouri River in the Dakotas. This book integrates those data with central place foraging theory and exchange models to arrive at broad conclusions supporting archaeological theory. The emphasis is on the last 1,000 years, when the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara farmer-hunters dominated the area, but also looks back some 10,000 years to more nomadic peoples. The long timespan and large number of villages and campsites help define changes through time and over large distances of local and nonlocal tool stone and its manufacture into arrow points, knives, and other tools.
Central place foraging theory, through the field processing model, posits that the farther a source material is from the central living area, the more it will be processed before it is transported back, to avoid hauling heavy, nonusable parts on long trips. Johnson’s data support this theory and demonstrate that this model applies not only to nomadic hunter-gatherers but also to semisedentary farmer-hunters. His results also indicate that toolstone usage creates distinctive spatial patterns along the Missouri River, largely related to village distance from the sources. This is best illustrated with Knife River flint, which gradually declines in popularity downriver from its source in west-central North Dakota but increases in central South Dakota because of exchange.
Chipped stone tools from archaeological sites can be a source of social and economic information about the inhabitants. In this volume, author William J. Parry presents his analysis of chipped stone tools found at Early and Middle Formative sites in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Volume 8 of the subseries Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Valley of Oaxaca.
Representing work by a mixture of veterans and a new generation of lithic analysts, Contemporary Lithic Analysis in the Southeast explores fresh ideas while reworking and pushing the limits of traditional methods and hypotheses.
The variability in the southeastern lithic landscape over space and through time makes it a dynamic and challenging region for archaeologists. Demonstrating a holistic approach and using a variety of methods, this volume aims to derive information regarding prehistoric lifeways from lithic assemblages.
The contributors use data from a wide temporal span and a variety of sites across the Southeast, ranging from Texas to South Carolina and from Florida to Kentucky. Not merely cautionary tales, these case studies demonstrate the necessity of looking beyond the bag of lithic material sitting in the laboratory to address the key questions in the organization of prehistoric lithic technologies. How do field-collection strategies bias our interpretations? What is therelationship between technological strategies and tool design? How can inferences regarding social and economic strategies be made from lithic assemblages?
William Andrefsky Jr. / Andrew P. Bradbury / Philip J. Carr / CarolynConklin /
D. Randall Cooper / Jason L.Edmonds / Jay D. Franklin / Albert C.Goodyear III /
Joel Hardison / Lucinda M.Langston / D. Shane Miller / George H.Odell /
Charlotte D. Pevny / Tara L. Potts /Sarah E. Price / Douglas Sain / Sarah C.Sherwood /
A major problem confronting archeologists is how to determine the function of ancient stone tools. In this important work, Lawrence H. Keeley reports on his own highly successful course of research into the uses of British Paleolithic flint implements. His principal method of investigation, known as "microwear analysis," was the microscopic examination of traces of use left on flint implements in the form of polishes, striations, and breakage patterns.
The most important discovery arising from Keeley's research was that, at magnifications of 100x to 400x, there was a high correlation between the detailed appearance of microwear polishes formed on tool edges and the general category of material worked by that edge. For example, different and distinctive types of microwear polish were formed during use on wood, bone, hide, meat, and soft plant material. These correlations between microwear polish and worked material were independent of the method of use (cutting, sawing, scraping, and so on). In combining evidence of polish type with other traces of use, Keeley was able to make precise reconstructions of tool functions. This book includes the results of a "blind test" of Keeley's functional interpretations which revealed remarkable agreement between the actual and inferred use of the tools tested.
Keeley applied his method of microwear analysis to artifacts from three excavation sites in Britain—Clacton-on-the-sea, Swanscombe, and Hoxne. His research suggests new hypotheses concerning such Paleolithic problems as inter-assemblage variability, the function of Acheulean hand axes, sidescrapers, and chopper-cores and points the way to future research in Stone Age studies.
Lithic analysis in North America traditionally has focused on bifacially retouched pieces, or bifaces. Angela Close contends that such an approach has ignored cores and debitage to the detriment of analysis.
At English Camp on San Juan Island, Washington, an earlier excavation (1950) kept the bifaces and discarded everything else, unstudied. Typically, the bifaces themselves have been used as type-fossils, allowing assignment of occupation to a chronological phase but serving little other purpose. North American lithic analysis has seen a move away from this approach and toward other aspects of lithic assemblages, yet the emphasis is still on the genesis of bifaces.
In this volume, Close uses a fine-grained study to critique American approaches to lithic analysis. Her approach is based on chaîne opératoire analysis, which applied here attempts to trace the life-histories of all artifacts in an assemblage from raw material procurement to discard and entry into the archaeological record. This approach is aimed explicitly at the people behind the artifacts.
Close’s final and likely controversial analysis is that women did a great deal of the tool manufacture at this particular site.
Archaeologists define stone artifacts that are altered by or used to alter other items through abrasion, pecking, or polishing as “ground stone.” This includes mortars and pestles, abraders, polishers stones, and hammerstones, and artifacts shaped by abrasion or pecking, such as axes, pipes, figurines, ornaments, and architectural pieces.
The first edition of Ground Stone Analysis sparked interest around the world. In the decade following its publication, there have been many advances in scientific technology and developments in ethnographic and experimental research. The second edition incorporates these advances, including examples of international research that have utilized a technological approach to ground stone analysis. This study presents a flexible yet structured method for analyzing and classifying stone artifacts. These techniques record important attributes based on design, manufacturing, and use and are applicable to any collection in the world.
The methods presented guide quantitative and qualitative assessments of artifacts and assemblages. Recording forms and instructions for completing them will be available on the University of Utah Press’s open access portal at www.UofUpress.com. Ground Stone Analysis is an important, useful reference for any archaeological field worker or student who encounters ground stone artifacts and is interested in learning more about the people who used them.
Archaeologists refer to stone artifacts that are altered by or used to alter other items through abrasion, pecking, or polishing as "ground stone." This includes mortars, and pestles used to process vegetal materials, pigments, clays, and tempers; abraders, polishing stones, and hammerstones for manufacturing other artifacts; and artifacts shaped by abrasion or pecking, such as axes, pipes, figurines, ornaments, and architectural pieces. Because there is a fuzzy line between flaked and ground stone artifacts, some analysts state that ground stone includes any stone item not considered flaked.
This manual presents a flexible yet structured method for analyzing stone artifacts and classifying them in meaningful categories. The analysis techniques record important attributes based on design, manufacture, and use.
Part I contains discussions on determining function, classification, attributes of grinding technology, use-wear analysis, modeling tool use, utilization of ethnographic and experimental resources, and research suggestions. Part II contains definitions and descriptions of artifact types. Here the author also seeks to unravel the knot that has developed around conflicting application of terms.
A significant reference for any archaeological fieldworker or student who encounters such artifacts.
Eastern North America has one of the largest inventories of Paleoindian sites anywhere in the Americas. Despite this rich record of early human settlement during the late Pleistocene, there are few widely published reports or summaries of Paleoindian research in the region. The contributors to this volume present more than four decades of Early Paleoindian research in eastern North America, including previously unpublished site reports and updates on recent research. Their work helps create a more cohesive picture of the early human occupation of North America.
This data-rich volume provides specific information on artifacts and basic site descriptions which will allow for more thorough comparisons of eastern fluted point sites. Divided into four sections—chronology and environment, reinvestigations of classic sites, new sites and perspectives, and synthesis and conclusions—the volume will encourage further consideration of the sites included and their role in shaping our understanding of huntergatherer lifeways during the late Pleistocene. In the Eastern Fluted Point Tradition is a must read for scholars of Paleoindian archaeology and those generally interested in the prehistory of North America.
This illustrated monograph is an innovative analysis of forager archaeology in general and Paleo-Indian studies in particular. This is a companion volume to Thedford II: A Paleo-Indian Site in the Ausable River Watershed of Southwestern Ontario (Memoir 24).
William Andrefsky University of Utah Press, 2003 Library of Congress GN799.T6L56 2001 | Dewey Decimal 930.1028
Debitage, the by-product flakes and chips from stone tool production, is the most abundant artifact type in prehistoric archaeological sites. For much of the period in which archaeology has employed scientific methodology, debitage has been discarded or ignored as debris. Now archaeologists have begun to recognize its potential to provide information about the kinds of tools produced and the characteristics of the technology being employed. Debitage can even provide clues regarding human organizational systems such as settlement mobility and site functions.
This volume brings together some of the most recent research on debitage analysis and interpretation. It presents stone tool production experiments and offers detailed archaeological investigations for interpreting variability at the individual and collective levels. Although there are a number of volumes that focus on general analysis of lithic artifacts, this is the first volume to address debitage and should be of use to a wide range of archaeological researchers.
Lithic Technologies in SedentarySocieties examines lithic technology from ancient societies in Mesoamerica, the Near East, South Asia, and North America, showcasing the important contributions in-depth lithic analysis can make to the study of sedentary societies around the world. Using cutting-edge analytical techniques these case studies address difficult anthropological questions concerning economic, social, and political issues, as well as global trends in lithic production.
Lithic analysis focused on sedentary societies, especially in places like Mesoamerica, has previously been neglected mostly because of the high frequency of informal tools, but such bias limits the ways in which both lithic production and economic organization are investigated. Bringing the importance of studying such technologies to the fore and emphasizing the vital anthropological questions that lithics can answer, Lithic Technologies in Sedentary Societies is a valuable resource for scholars and students of lithic technology and sedentary, complex societies.
Contributors: Fumi Arakawa, Mary A. Davis, James Enloe, Dan Healan, Francesca Manclossi, Theodore Marks, Jayur Madhusudan Mehta, Jason S. R. Paling, Steve Rosen, John Whittaker
Although Neandertals lived in Europe and western Asia for more than 200,000 years, we know surprisingly little about them or about their everyday lives. Evidence of their behavior is largely derived from the surviving pieces of chipped stone and animal bone that resulted from their activities. One of the largest concentrations of stone and bone artifacts left by Neandertals was at the famous archaeological site of La Quina in southwestern France.
This study of the significance of changes through time revealed by an analysis of the chipped stone at La Quina reports on the excavations of the Cooperative American–French Excavation Project from 1985 to 1994. It moves beyond the largely descriptive and subjective approaches that have traditionally been applied to this kind of evidence and applies several important quantitative analytical techniques. These new approaches incorporate the history of previous excavations at the site, the results of the work of the Cooperative Project, and the most recent scientific understanding of relevant climatic changes.
This is a major contribution to our understanding of Neandertal behavior and industry. It adds new dimensions and perspectives based on innovative techniques of analysis. The analytic methods applied to lithic artifacts that form the heart of the book are the product of considerations about how to best interpret a sequence of multiple contextual samples. The author concludes the book with an extraordinarily useful chapter that places his findings into the larger context of our contemporary knowledge of Neandertal life in the region.
The book comes with a compact disc, which includes coded observations used in the analysis in as many as 47 data fields for the more than 11,500 artifacts that will allow professionals and students to further explore the collection of lithic artifacts.
Excavated in 1974, the Sloan site in northeast Arkansas is the earliest recognized cemetery in the New World, containing the graves of a small group of Native Americans who died over ten thousand years ago. Although no skeletons were found in the acidic soil, the number, size, and quality of its artifacts attest to the presence of a far more complicated and sophisticated culture than had previously been thought to exist during the Dalton period.
Bringing together the work of thirteen eminent scholars, Dan F. Morse describes and assesses the assemblage of points, adzes, scrapers, abraders, and other stone artifacts as an indicator of the territorial stability of late Pleistocene peoples. The tools show that hunter-gatherer-fisher populations lived in small, semipermanent villages, hunted and butchered white-tailed deer, processed and ate vegetables, and made dugout canoes. And they buried their dead in cemeteries, a practice previously associated only with the rise of horticultural societies. Many of the tools are unused, suggesting ritual interments and a well-developed system of trade with groups in rockier areas.
Including an overview of the Dalton period in the southeastern United States and a discussion of the region’s geologic and vegetal prehistory—and newly supported by extensive high-quality image galleries now available at the website of the Arkansas Archeological Survey (see inside cover)—this comprehensive study of the Sloan artifacts provides a multifaceted assessment of a site rich in information about the technology of a single prehistoric society.
Explores the impact of European colonization on Native American and Pacific Islander technology and culture.
This is the first comprehensive analysis of the partial replacement of flaked stone and ground stone traditions by metal tools in the Americas during the Contact Era. It examines the functional, symbolic, and economic consequences of that replacement on the lifeways of native populations, even as lithic technologies persisted well after the landing of Columbus. Ranging across North America and to Hawai'i, the studies show that, even with wide access to metal objects, Native Americans continued to produce certain stone tool types—perhaps because they were still the best implements for a task or because they represented a deep commitment to a traditional practice.
Chapters are ordered in terms of relative degree of European contact, beginning with groups that experienced brief episodes of interaction, such as the Wichita-French meeting on the Arkansas River, and ending with societies that were heavily influenced by colonization, such as the Potawatomi of Illinois. Because the anthology draws comparisons between the persistence of stone tools and the continuity of other indigenous crafts, it presents holistic models that can be used to explain the larger consequences of the Contact Era.
Marvin T. Smith, of Valdosta State University has stated that, "after reading this volume, no archaeologist will ever see the replacement of lithic technology by metal tools as a simple matter of replacement of technologically inferior stone tools with their superior metal counterparts. This is cutting-edge scholarship in the area of contact period studies."
Stone tools are the most durable and common type of archaeological remain and one of the most important sources of information about behaviors of early hominins. Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Cognition develops methods for examining questions of cognition, demonstrating the progression of mental capabilities from early hominins to modern humans through the archaeological record.
Dating as far back as 2.5-2.7 million years ago, stone tools were used in cutting up animals, woodworking, and preparing vegetable matter. Today, lithic remains give archaeologists insight into the forethought, planning, and enhanced working memory of our early ancestors. Contributors focus on multiple ways in which archaeologists can investigate the relationship between tools and the evolving human mind-including joint attention, pattern recognition, memory usage, and the emergence of language.
Offering a wide range of approaches and diversity of place and time, the chapters address issues such as skill, social learning, technique, language, and cognition based on lithic technology. Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Cognition will be of interest to Paleolithic archaeologists and paleoanthropologists interested in stone tool technology and cognitive evolution.
Modern humans and their hominid ancestors relied on chipped-stone technology for well over two million years and colonized more than 99 percent of the Earth's habitable landmass in doing so. Yet there currently exist only a handful of informal models derived from ethnographic observation, experiments, engineering, and "common sense" to explain variability in archaeological lithic assemblages.
Because the fundamental processes of making, using, and discarding stone tools are, at root, exercises in problem solving, Todd Surovell asks what conditions favor certain technological solutions. Whether asking if a biface should be made thick or thin or if a flake should be saved or discarded, Surovell seeks answers that extend beyond a case-by-case analysis. One avenue for addressing these questions theoretically is formal mathematical modeling.
Here Surovell constructs a series of models designed to link environmental variability to human decision making as it pertains to lithic technology. To test the models, Surovell uses data from the analysis of more than 40,000 artifacts from five Rocky Mountain and Northern Plains Folsom and Goshen complex archaeological sites dating to the Younger Dryas stadial (ca. 12,600-11,500 years BP). The primary result is the production of powerful new analytical tools useful to the interpretation of archaeological assemblages.
Surovell's goal is to promote modeling and explore the general issues governing technological decisions. In this light, his models can be applied to any context in which stone tools are made and used.
This major contribution to archaeological method details the use-wear analysis of a set of stone tools recovered during the excavation of Cassegros Cave, in southwestern France. The study combines low-power and high-power microwear approaches and develops their potential for use on a wider range of lithic and contact materials than have been reported previously.
Whether done by Stone Age hunters or artisans in ancient civilizations, the transformation of resistant stone into useful implements required skills with a high level of sophistication. Because stone tools are durable, today we have a lithic record to explain past behavior and the evolution of culture over long spans. Interpretive and analytical approaches to the study of stone tools, however, are often treated as independent, disconnected specialties. Works in Stone provides a broad look at the field of lithic analysis by bringing together a cross section of recent research. Scholars present a diverse range of concepts and methods with case studies that extend to every continent and contexts ranging from the Paleolithic to late prehistory. Showcasing the latest research of lithic analysts, Works in Stone provides a cohesive overview of recent methods and conclusions.