Anthropology and Classical Studies Faculty Research

Title

Size and Form in the Analysis of Flake Debris: Review and Recent Approaches

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 3-1994

Abstract

Flake debris -- the by-product of lithic reduction -- is abundant, not subject to uncontrolled collection, and sometimes culturally diagnostic. Its greatest virtue, however, is in registering the kinds and amounts of toolmaking and toolusing behavior that curated tools themselves may not. Most debris studies emphasize formal dimensions, yet even the best approaches assume rather than demonstrate a relationship between behavior and formal variation. Moreover, the diversity of formal typologies hinders interassemblage comparison. Progress in debris analysis has two prerequisites: (1) a minimum attribute set for individual flakes and (2) the combination of formal and continuous approaches to variation. Preliminary study suggests that Ahler's mass-analysis model and log skew Laplace functions hold particular promise for behavioral interpretation from debris assemblages.

Publication Title

Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

Volume

1

Issue

1

First Page

69

Last Page

110