Clarifying Perceptions of Rock: Prehistoric Use of Common Toolstone in Tangle Lakes, Alaska

Author(s): Brooks Lawler

Year: 2018


Archaeologists have had difficulty agreeing upon uniform designations of certain kinds of toolstone that are not easily distinguishable visually. There are occasions when the archaeological definition of toolstone material and the geological definition of the same toolstone material do not match. A situation where this discrepancy might arise is when archaeologists give a more specific name to a cryptocrystalline silicate that is difficult to identify based on visual analysis. An understanding of the geological definition and geochemistry of toolstone can allow archaeologist to ask more specific questions about toolstone provenance, procurement, and use. The toolstone variability among sites in the Tangle Lakes Region is not well understood, and is thought to belong to two local quarries. This project seeks to understand the geochemical composition of two cryptocrystalline silicate toolstone quarries and visually similar artifacts from specific activity areas from three sites in the region at varying distances from the quarries. The toolstone variability will be defined by geochemical groupings using XRF and pXRF analysis. Future analysis will attempt to geochemically match the artifacts with the two quarries, and learn if there is more variation in the material than can be accounted for by the two quarries.

Cite this Record

Clarifying Perceptions of Rock: Prehistoric Use of Common Toolstone in Tangle Lakes, Alaska. Brooks Lawler. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444806)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.453; min lat: 50.513 ; max long: -49.043; max lat: 72.712 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21959