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... Specifically, studies examined the interrelationship between different knapping sequences with the characteristics of the overall produced lithic assemblage. This is best represented by the reduction sequence approach of North American archaeologists (Bleed 1996;Dibble 1984Dibble , 1987Dibble , 1995bFrison and Raymond 1980;Magne 1985;Morrow 1997) and the chaîne opératorie school of France and Continental Europe (e.g., Boëda 1986Boëda , 1988Boëda et al. 1990;Geneste 1985;Pigeot 1990;Sellet 1993). These studies stress the importance of the techno-behavior process that underlies the formation of lithic artifacts, which could effectively be captured through refitting and replicative flintknapping experiments. ...
Lithic researchers rely heavily on experimentation to infer past behaviors and activities based on stone artifacts. This paper explores the analogical nature of archaeological inference and the relationship between experimental design and inference validity in stone artifact experimentation. We show that actualistic flintknapping lacks vital aspects of scientific experimentation, and thus has inherent inferential issues of analogical adequacy and confidence. It is argued that a greater emphasis on hypothesis construction and variable control is needed in order to establish sound referential linkages upon which constructive analogic inferences about the past can be built.
... Specifically, studies examined the interrelationship between different knapping sequences with the characteristics of the overall produced lithic assemblage. This is best represented by the reduction sequence approach of North American archaeologists (Bleed 1996;Dibble 1984Dibble , 1987Dibble , 1995bFrison and Raymond 1980;Morrow 1997) and the chaîne opératorie school of France and Continental Europe (e.g., Boëda 1986Boëda , 1988Boëda et al. 1990;Geneste 1985;Perlés 1992;Pigeot 1990;Sellet 1993). These studies stress the importance of the technological/behavior process that underlies the formation of lithic artifacts, which could effectively be captured through refitting and replicative flintknapping experiments. ...
Since the beginning of prehistoric archaeology, various methods and approaches have been developed to describe and explain stone artifact variability. However, noticeably less attention has been paid to the ontological nature of stone artifacts and the adequateness of the inferential reasoning for drawing archaeological interpretations from these artifacts. This dissertation takes a scientific perspective to rethink critically the ways that current lithic approaches generate knowledge about past hominin behavior from stone artifacts through experimentation (Chapter 2), and further, to explore the use of controlled experiments and uniformitarian principles for deriving inferences. The latter is presented as two case studies about Late Pleistocene Neanderthal behavior in southwestern France (Chapter 3 & 4).
Archaeological reasoning is inescapably analogical, and archaeological knowledge is bound to be established on the basis on modern observations. However, simplistic treatments of archaeological analogs often result in inferences of questionable validity. In this dissertation, it is argued that greater attention is required to consider the implication of experimental design, variable control, and analogic reasoning in the construction of archaeological inference from stone artifacts. It is argued that the ability to move beyond the constraint of modern analogs in archaeological knowledge production lies in the use of uniformitarian principles that operate independently from the research questions archaeologists wish to evaluate.
By examining the uniformitarian connection between platform attributes and flake morphology, the first case study explores how the production of unretouched flakes can be altered in ways that increase their relative utility, as reflected in the ratio of edge length to mass. Application of this relationship to Middle Paleolithic assemblages shows two modes of flake production pattern, possibly related to different ways Neanderthal groups managed the utility of transported tool-kits. The second case study applies a geometric model to assess the lithic cortex proportion in the Middle Paleolithic study assemblages. An excess or deficit of cortex relative to artifact volume provides an indication of possible artifact transport to or from the assemblage locality. Results show correlation between assemblage cortex proportions and paleoenvironmental conditions, suggesting possible shifts in Neanderthal artifact transport pattern and land use during the late Pleistocene.
Red ocher (also known as hematite) is relatively common in Paleoindian sites exceeding ca. 11,000 calibrated years B.P. in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of North America. Red ocher fulfilled a wide range of functions within Paleoindian societies, as indicated by its association with graves, caches, campsites, hide-working implements, and kill sites. To date, the Powars II site is the only red ocher quarry identified in the North American archaeological record north of Mesoamerica. Prior studies of Powars II were based on analyses of artifacts recovered from a redeposited context. This study presents in situ evidence for red ocher quarrying at Powars II.
During the Upper Paleolithic, lithic variability is one of the most important keys to recognize hunter-gatherer behavior, technology, ecology, and social dynamics. The origin and expansion of Gravettian populations in Eurasia has been seen as one of the most critical episodes in human evolution, argued to be the first clear evidence of the so-called polymorphism among modern human populations. In the case of southern Iberian Peninsula, recent data have shown a new regional and diachronic organization for the Gravettian occupation in this region. Therefore, the interpretation of such variability is one of the most important questions, and functional analysis is a fundamental proxy to recognize human technological, settlement and ecological adaptations as major factors for this polymorphism. This study focused on lithic use-wear analysis of the Early Gravettian of Vale Boi (southern Portugal), in order to understand lithic technological organization and variability within and between occupations at the site. Results show similar patterns between assemblages, showing that different materials were worked at the site, although showing reduced time of work, low variability and percentage of pieces used. Unlike other Gravettian contexts in southern Iberia, the Early Gravettian from Vale Boi is characterized by some variability of backed points, marked by the predominance of bipointed double-backed bladelets. Functional analysis of the Early Gravettian lithic industries of Vale Boi provide a new insight to interpret human technology and settlement strategy during the onset of Upper Paleolithic industries in western Eurasia.
contexts in Southern Iberian Peninsula, the Early Gravettian lithic assemblage from the archaeological site of Vale Boi
) is characterized by the absence of typical backed points, such as Gravettian and Microgravette points. Instead, backed technology is present in the unusual form of bipointed double backed bladelet
s. The presence of these backed tools in other Gravettian contexts is very rare, and their strong presence in the lithic assemblages from Vale Boi has no parallel in Southern Iberia, representing a novelty for the Gravettian record in the region. Given their morphology
, this type of backed tool has been associated, in other industries, with perforation activities. In this paper, however, we present the results on technological, macro and micro-wear analyses showing the presence of fatigue
traces (diagnostic impact fractures and hafting
traces) commonly associated to projectile tips. These data represent a novelty in lithic projectile technology from Southwestern Iberia, and may reflect improving hunting techniques related to diet diversification
and intensification and/or stylistic variation among Gravettian population.
This chapter shows how experimental methods can be used for modeling the science embodied in technologies, especially of traditional societies. Replication experiments, which begin with a question about a particular artifact, supply insights into manufacture (and other) processes by representing, in a recipe, the sequence of interactions among people and artifacts. Replication and recipe construction are illustrated by Folsom spear points. Controlled experiments address general questions that apply to a large family of artifacts. Such experiments may yield experimental laws with far-reaching applicability, as illustrated by a case study treating the effects of traditional surface treatments on the heating effectiveness of ceramic cooking pots.
In the past two decades, a major change has occurred in the way Paleo-Indian researchers view flaked stone artifacts. No longer are “finished tools” simply classified and compared. Gone are the days of simple functional typologies. It is now generally accepted that flaked stone artifacts became part of the archaeological record as the result of manufacture, use, reuse, discard, and natural site formation processes. Flaked stone assemblages from the High Plains have been increasingly analyzed within the concept of these dynamic systems. Indeed, it is the systems themselves that are being used to characterize cultural norms.
Clovis, the earliest clearly defined cultural complex in America, is characterized by robust fluted projectile points, biface reduction, and flake tools derived therefrom including knives, gravers, and end scrapers, in some cases spurred, and large blades commonly triangular in transverse section (Haynes 1982). Bone artifacts include cylindrical, beveledbase compound points, a mammoth bone shaft wrench, and rib segments with rounded and polished ends (Haynes 1982; Haynes and Hemmings 1968; Warnica 1966). On the basis of the Anzick site, caches of exceptionally large and well-made Clovis points along with large bifaces, cylindrical bone rod segments and points, and red ochre appear to be ceremonial grave offerings (Lahren and Bonnichsen 1974; Mehringer 1989; Stanford and Jodry 1988).