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Class Notes: Geoarchaeology

Friday: May 31, 2013

This is a waaaay long overdue post I found in my drafts:

Week 11: Human Impact on the Landscape


We talked about the basics of stone tool analysis (mostly involving chert because that is the most common source). There is a lot of theory that can go into this, but most of the intpretations are framed within a life history approach. That is, how the stone was 1) procured, 2) manufactured into a tool, 3) tool use, 4) tool maintenance or recycling into other tools, and 5) discard.

We also had a lab to identify chert types. We were given examples that Dr. M had collected in Indiana. Part of the assignment was to use two different forms to catalogue the chert. Otis Crandell was one of the first to provide a way to standardize a catalogue system for chert, and his form is very thorough. Unfortunately, some confusion exists because of the translation (originally published in Romania, I believe). The other form we used came from Indiana University. Unlike Crandell’s, which came with an article to define how to record each variable, this form was singular. Some of it was easier to follow, but the layout was very crowded and I doubted that I was recording things properly since I did not have reference material. Of course, this likely is not a problem for someone who works with chert or other rock types regularly as the lingo would not be so foreign to them.


Class discussion over Chapter 9 and:

  • Formation Processes of the Archaeological Record (Chapter 6)
  • The Structure of Archaeological Theory
  • Geoarchaeology in Action
(See the Library for bibliographic information.)
Dr. Crandell graciously contacted me to point me to a more in-depth article on chert identification. I direct you here: Macroscopic and Microscopic Analysis of Chert – A Proposal for Standardization of Methodology and Terminology. Happy analyzing!
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