Rocky Refuse or Useful Utensil?

Author(s): Dylan Person

Year: 2018


What is the value of an expedient lithic tool? By what standard is its performance judged? Analysis of lithic debitage has long focused on morphological characteristics of flakes to determine fracture mechanics and other technological aspects of the flintknapping process. As such, most lithic flake termination types are seen as the result of misdirected force as opposed to techniques producing a mechanistically ideal flake type. What does this mean for past humans who did not follow the analytical approach employed by contemporary archaeologists? Could these flakes have been useful for reasons not apparent from study of fracture mechanics? Though archaeologists have long been aware of the dangers of applying current knowledge to past contexts, does this mean that there is no way to infer human activity involving these non-ideal flakes? Behavioral archaeology offers a method to explore this issue through analysis of the performance characteristics of flake termination types in common daily activities known from the archaeological record. This allows comparative analysis between termination types to use as a basis for archaeological inference. Combined with an experimental approach, this study utilizes performance characteristic modeling to identify behavioral contexts for the use of non-ideal flake types in past activities.

Cite this Record

Rocky Refuse or Useful Utensil?. Dylan Person. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442972)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21772