Dealing With Lithics

Lab 3

Introduction to Archaeology

Before doing this lab section look at the animation dealing with lithics. Please note the techniques displayed and the historical sequence of techniques depicted. For an actual example of lithic flaking view the following short film.

Cores are the basic material from which we strike flakes. Note the characteristics of the negative scars of flakes previously struck from cores. (for the characteristics see below under flakes; for examples see cores below)

Flakes have identifiable characteristics. Identify the bulb of percussion, the scars formed, the concentric lines of force, the striking platform.

Blades are flakes which are at least twice as long as they are wide, with relatively parallel sides.

Unifacial and Bifacially worked tools: Unifacially worked flakes have the flaking (retouch) only on one surface. Bifacially worked tools have retouch on the back face as well.

Tools for Making Tools

Ancient toolmakers as well as present-day makers of stone tools used various tools to achieve different effects.  The variety of tools combined with the varied ways a tool might be applied suggests the degree of complexity involved in lithic tool manufacture.

Core Tools

Cores are nodules or material from which flakes are struck. During certain periods, although the flakes were largely utilized as tools of chance, the standardized tools were generally the cores, "whittled" into shape.

Pebble Tools: Simple pebbles were worked either unifacially or bifacially to create very simple cutting tools.

Hand Axes: Cores were flaked over a considerable degree of their length

Prepared Cores

Prepared Cores: Begin as early as the very end of the Lower Paleolithic. Cores are prepared in such a way as to produce flakes or blades of standardized, predetermined form. We can differentiate between several different types.

Flake Cores: (characteristic of the Middle Paleolithic). These include so-called Tortoise and discoidal Cores.

Blade Cores: The Core is prepared so that blades are produced (flakes which are twice as long as they are wide, with relatively parallel sides)

Pressure Flaking

Pressure Flaking: Taking off flakes utilizing a rod and applying pressure. Permits very fine workmanship.

Ground Stone Tools

Ground stone tools: Tools which were ground into shape rather than flaked into the desired form. Ground stone technologies allowed the use of stones otherwise useless for flaking.

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