A spatially explicit model of lithic raw material composition in archaeological assemblages

Author(s): Philip Fisher; Luke Premo

Year: 2015


Lithic studies have benefited from the increased availability of raw material provenience data. The ability to determine the source locations of obsidian artifacts through X-ray fluorescence, for example, provides archaeologists with another line of evidence for addressing questions concerning mobility, settlement patterns, trade, adaptions to environmental conditions, and subsistence strategies. Brantingham (2003, 2006) previously demonstrated the importance of "null" model expectations in interpreting raw material provenience data. Here, we present a spatially explicit model that provides "null" expectations of raw material composition in assemblages across a landscape for a given set of raw material source locations and simple assumptions about forager mobility and artifact deposition rates. We combine a landscape archaeological approach with simulation experiments to explore how different assumptions about forager mobility, raw material quality, and raw material procurement affect the relative frequencies of raw materials in assemblages. Although we focus on the results of a simple abstract model in this paper, the ultimate goal of the study is to develop a tool that can be used to produce "null" expectations of raw material composition in empirical archaeological assemblages given the locations of the actual raw material sources of a region.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

A spatially explicit model of lithic raw material composition in archaeological assemblages. Philip Fisher, Luke Premo. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395149)