Saturday, August 23, 2008

Final Lithic Analysis for the Field Survey

Okay, numbers aren't for everyone. I could sense the collective glazing over of eyes whenever we post a table with numbers. But that is often what analysis is about: quantifying finds in the hope of seeing patterns, and then trying to interpret the behaviors behind those patterns.

Anyway, below are the last two tables for the field survey, both for the South Field. Readers could check past blogs to see the numbers for the North and South fields, but basically most of the flakes recovered from those fields (92% to 95%) were quartz and represented initial stages of stone tool making.

The South Field flakes, as anticipated, are different. There is a lot more quartzite than in either of the other two fields (36% of all the flakes are quartzite as opposed to 4% to 5%), and the bulk of the recovered primary and secondary flakes from the South Field (53% and 54%, respectively) are quartzite. Only 10% of the tertiary flakes are quartzite, but 89% are quartz.

What does all this mean? I suspect that the aboriginal occupants of the South Field were using quartz to produce finished tools on-site, but they used quartzite to make what archaeologists call preforms or blanks...roughed out tools that looked like, and could serves as, knives, but were intended for further shaping into more functionally specific tools. Where did they take these quartzite preforms and what kinds of tools did they eventually make from them? Don't know; but we will try to find out with further research in and around Port Tobacco valley.

Table 1. Raw counts of flake types by material

Table 2. Proportions of flake types by material

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