Investigating the Spatial and Behavioral Factors that Influence Regional Lithic Assemblage Variability

Author(s): Emily Phillips

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Lithic scatters are commonly the most abundant site type recorded in regional archaeological surveys. Paradoxically, lithic scatters are widely considered typologically homogeneous and are typically classified as limited-activity sites. These practices have contributed to the view that lithic scatters are of limited research value in understanding the origins and formation histories of regional archaeological records. To illustrate their unappreciated interpretive potential, I report the results of recent lithic-scatter investigations in the Upper Basin of northern Arizona, which have revealed significant inter-site differences in assemblage composition (ratios of debitage, tools, and cores), formal variability of debitage assemblages (measured by maximum flake area), and artifact density. In addition, I explore the hypothesis that masonry-structure proximity influenced lithic-scatter variability. By analyzing differences in the aforementioned variables between lithic scatters and masonry structures, I anticipate, for example, that higher proportions of unifacially retouched pieces will occur at masonry structures, whereas assemblage-level values of maximum flake area will decrease in lithic scatters that are located at increasingly greater distances from the nearest masonry structure. Overall, the goal of this project is to showcase an unbiased approach that incorporates the lithic scatter in regional models of technological production and assemblage formation.

Cite this Record

Investigating the Spatial and Behavioral Factors that Influence Regional Lithic Assemblage Variability. Emily Phillips. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450249)

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): 24866