Lithics and Learning: Towards a Heart-Centered Lithic Analysis

Author(s): Callum Abbott

Year: 2017


Both archaeologists and the knappers who created the lithics we recover are skilled practitioners implicated in a genealogy of technological practice. These living, thinking, and feeling beings make tools with their hearts and their minds–two inseparable components of the complete corporeal experience. A heart-centered approach to lithic analysis offers insights about the social and emotional contexts of situated learning in which ancient and contemporary makers of stone tools engage. The process of co-construction between the makers of material culture and the things they make means they actively shape each other across time and space. This has implications for communities of practice in the past as well as the present. Therefore, tracking the choices, movements, and gestures made along the chaînes opératoires of stone tool production positions the (re)creation of embodied knowledge within the materially, environmentally, and socially-mediated world of learning and enskilment.

In this paper, I explore the findings of a diachronic analysis of three lithic assemblages from Quadra Island, British Columbia and propose a methodology for conducting a heart-centered lithic analysis. I incorporate qualitative and quantitative data of the artifacts themselves, their relation to communities of tool-makers, and my own experience of learning to make stone tools.

Cite this Record

Lithics and Learning: Towards a Heart-Centered Lithic Analysis. Callum Abbott. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429770)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14479