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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: June 2012

6 - Approaches to debitage analysis


As in Chapter 5, this chapter is primarily a review of the literature on flake debitage analysis. It is not intended to be a “cook book” or a manual for selecting flake debitage attributes and analytical techniques. Instead it reviews various analytical approaches to flake debitage analysis in an attempt to show the relationship between various debitage attributes and stone tool production behavior. The examples used in this chapter have been selected to illustrate how flake debitage attribute data might be compiled for analysis. However, more sophisticated quantitative analysis and tests of association have not been applied on the data. I have chosen not to apply more sophisticated quantitative methods because any number of methods could be used to tabulate data depending upon the question(s) or issues being addressed. Since this chapter is primarily a review of flake debitage analysis approaches and not a problem or question oriented study, specific quantitative functions have not been performed.

The analysis of debitage has been conducted on many different scales with a variety of different techniques. Some researchers analyze debitage from the perspective of an individual artifact, and others from the perspective of a population. Analysis from an individual artifact perspective is used to make one-to-one associations between the artifact and past behavior. An example would be that after analysis a detached piece may be identified as a bipolar flake, and such a flake would indicate that bipolar technology was practiced at the site – even if no bipolar cores have been found.

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