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

5 - Flake debitage attributes


In the morphological typology presented above, flake debitage includes all stone artifact types shown in Figure 4.7, 3c. When researchers evaluate or read debitage analysis studies they often become frustrated because of the lack of consistent terminology (cf. Sullivan and Rozen 1985). A study may talk about flake thickness or number of dorsal ridges, but not explain how either is measured. Flakes almost always vary in thickness from the proximal to the distal end. It is important to explain how thickness was measured for any particular study. The same can be true for counting dorsal ridges. What is the definition of a dorsal ridge? Most flakes have several prominent ridges on the dorsal surface but if examined very closely, flakes may have hundreds of dorsal ridges. Which ridges are counted, and what are the factors that determine if a dorsal ridge is counted or discounted? There are two chapters in this book that introduce flake debitage analysis, this chapter and the one that follows. This chapter is purely descriptive and presents standardized techniques to recognize and record attributes on flake debitage. In a sense, this chapter emphasizes “how” flake debitage attributes are recorded and not “why” they are recorded. Chapter 6 provides more detailed discussions and review on “why” the various flake debitage attributes are recorded and also describes various techniques of debitage analysis. The analysis of flake debitage attributes are separated in this manner for two reasons.

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