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Earthworks as Landscapes: An Examination of the Sampling Issue in Lithic Microwear Analysis

Author(s): G. Logan Miller

Year: 2016

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Lithic microwear analysis remains a powerful tool for anthropological archaeology by providing insights into stone tool function. As the method continues to mature, practitioners have recently made important advances in documenting and quantifying variation in wear patterns. Since its inception, however, little discussion has focused on the role of sampling in microwear studies. As a result, sample sizes in published microwear reports vary widely. A related issue involves generating a representative sample from the spatial area and temporal period under investigation. Often studies utilize a type site, rather than a landscape, approach that makes it difficult to capture the full range of variation present. A case study from two Middle Woodland period Hopewell earthworks in southwestern Ohio demonstrates that these issues of sample size and spatial coverage could impact archaeological interpretations. Results reveal a significant positive correlation between sample size and the number of distinct functional tasks identified in an assemblage. Sampling multiple locations within and around each earthwork captured a great deal of variation only discernible through this landscape approach.

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Earthworks as Landscapes: An Examination of the Sampling Issue in Lithic Microwear Analysis. G. Logan Miller. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405035)


Lithics microwear

Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

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