Complete vs. broken:exploring assemblage variation in two Natufian sites from Jordan

Author(s): Michael Neeley; Steven Swinford

Year: 2017


Archaeological sampling of lithic assemblages is an important process for characterizing the make-up and range of variability of these materials. These characterizations often focus on complete pieces due to the greater number of variables that can be recorded and the uncertain utility of incomplete data. But do complete pieces adequately characterize assemblage variability? Are these samples capturing the same range of variation found in broken pieces (e.g., proximal pieces)? This paper explores variation in metric measurements (e.g., width, thickness) of blades/bladelets from two Late Natufian sites in west-central Jordan. First, we attempt to address the question of how many pieces are necessary to encompass the range of variation within the assemblage (a sampling problem). Should assemblages be sorted or stratified by certain variables beforehand or are random samples sufficient? Second, are measurements of complete and proximal pieces representative of the same population or does a focus on complete pieces yield a sample population significantly different from the proximal blade population? Preliminary results indicate differences between the two samples and we address the ways in which assemblage characterizations can be biased by sampling and a focus on limited classes of material.

Cite this Record

Complete vs. broken:exploring assemblage variation in two Natufian sites from Jordan. Michael Neeley, Steven Swinford. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430525)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Lithics Near East

Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14611