Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lithic Reduction on the North Field Site

Intern Kevin McCall (Stevenson University) worked today on the flakes that we recovered this spring from the North Field. He'd sort the flakes into decortication, primary, secondary, tertiary, and shatter (representing different stages of reducing a pebble into a stone tool) and I'd check his identifications. Here are the results.

As was the case for the Middle Field (reported by me a week or so ago), the vast majority of the flakes are quartz and they represent all stages of stone tool making. Unlike the Middle Field assemblage, however, we recovered a large number of tertiary flakes...small flakes resulting from the final sharpening or resharpening of stone tools. We suspected this patterning during the field work because many of the flakes that we found and mapped were small quartz flakes.

In sum, we have the same use of locally available quartz pebbles that we saw for the Middle Field, but a greater focus on the final stages of tool making and maintenance are in evidence in the North Field. By the end of the week we will have counts for the South Field. It was my impression during the field study that quartzite was much more common in the South Field than in either of the other two, and that suggests a different preference for raw materials. Whether that preference was based in the quality of the stone (one more easily flaked, or knapped, than the other), the color (symbolic or spiritual significance of pink and yellow over white), or some as yet unidentified factor remains to be seen.

After reporting the South Field finds we will compare all of the fields and see what else might be learned from looking at flake types and materials.


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