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Scales of Analysis, Scales of Interpretation: Interpretive Scope and Analytical Precision in Lithic Use-wear Research or ‘Trees are great but don’t forget about the forest!’

Author(s): Harry Lerner

Year: 2015

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Summary

Ever since the inception of the New Archaeology back in the 1960s there has been an emphasis within the discipline on increasing analytical rigor through ever-more precise quantification of material culture variability. While striving to improve and expand our analytical arsenal is always a worthy pursuit, these efforts must be accompanied by critical reflection on how and why we use our increasingly refined analytical techniques to address larger behavioral and cultural questions. Precise and accurate measurement of physical artifact attributes is, of course, an essential component of any program of research, but an appropriate contextual rationale for the recording and evaluation of such data is equally fundamental. The proposed presentation will examine the use of GIS in characterizing changes in stone tool surface microtopography documented using both incident light and scanning electron microscopy and how the resulting specific quantitative data can be used to not only characterize the individual tool surfaces but also to explore broader patterns of tool using behavior and their possible cultural underpinnings.

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Cite this Record

Scales of Analysis, Scales of Interpretation: Interpretive Scope and Analytical Precision in Lithic Use-wear Research or ‘Trees are great but don’t forget about the forest!’. Harry Lerner. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397182)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America