Past Events

Reading Flake Scars to Understand Lithic Technologies and Past Human Behavior [Deeper Digs]

This seminar will provide insight into stone tool production and lithic attribute analysis methods. It will be organized around specific flake attributes and their interpretive power for understanding the processes and techniques used by ancient (and modern) people to make and use stone tools. The course will cover key concepts in interpreting past lithic technological behavior and aims to enhance participants' skills in identification and description of diagnostic lithic artifact attributes.

Key attributes such as remnant ventral surfaces and the characteristics of platforms, compression rings, and radial striations are qualitative more than quantitative and therefore better “read” than measured. Diagnostic attributes vary by technology and their identification allows for reconstruction or modeling of reduction sequences. Reduction sequences (aka chaîne opératoire) represent patterns of learned human behavior and can be evaluated for accuracy through experimental replication. Reading ancient artifacts allows us to discover technologies from the clues left by ancient practitioners of those technologies.

This course is designed for professional archaeologists, students of archaeology, and non-professionals interested in lithic technological analysis.