Sourcing Archeological Lithic Assemblages

New Perspectives and Integrated Approaches

Edited by
Charles Speer
Ryan M Parish
Gustavo Barrientos

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9781647691080 (hardback)
9781647691103 (ebook)

For most of our existence, humans have manipulated stone into tools that are essential for survival. Generally resistant to degradation, stone tools comprise a large portion of the material culture found at archaeological sites worldwide. Recovery of stone tools during archaeological excavation indicates the location where they were discarded, often tied to where they were used. “Sourcing” refers to attempts to determine the origin of the raw materials used to produce these tools. Knowing the beginning and end points of a tool’s use-life, as well as the likely paths it took between those two locations, can offer insight into trade and procurement patterns. The scholars gathered in this volume employ a variety of unique approaches to real-life contexts in multiple geographic regions. These studies illustrate the numerous, robust options available to archaeologists and researchers today, as well as the problems that must be faced and resolved.

Part 1 of the book explores technological approaches to sourcing in conjunction with innovative survey strategies. The chapters describe a particular method while often offering suggestions for improving the chemical analysis. Part 2 focuses on region-specific and methodological sourcing applications. In a concluding review, Michael D. Glascock critiques each of the chapters and presents his views, developed across 40 years of work in the field, on sourcing raw materials. Broadly, these contributions demonstrate how knowledge of lithic sources, geologic processes, the nature of variation, and regional availability can provide a more thorough understanding of past peoples.