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Reduction Strategies and Geochemical Characterization of Lithic Assemblages: A Comparison of Three Case Studies from Western North America

  • Jelmer W. Eerkens (a1), Jeffrey R. Ferguson (a2), Michael D. Glascock (a3), Craig E. Skinner (a4) and Sharon A. Waechter (a5)...

Abstract

Based on a simple model of lithic procurement, reduction, and use, we generate predictions for patterns in source diversity and average distance-to-source measurements for flaked stone assemblages left behind by small-scale and residentially mobile populations. We apply this model to geochemical data from obsidian artifacts from three regions in western North America. As predicted, results show markedly different patterns in the geochemical composition of small flakes, large flakes, and formal tools. While small flakes and tools tend to have greater source diversity and are on average farther from their original source, the large flake assemblage is composed of fewer and closer sources. These results suggest that a failure to include very late stage reduction (e.g., pressure flakes) and microdebitage in characterization studies may bias interpretations about the extent of residential mobility and/or trade patterns because more distant sources will be underrepresented.

Résumé

Basado en un modelo sencillo de obtención, reducción y uso líticos, generamos predicciones para patrones de diversidad de fuentes y medidas de media-distancia desde las fuentes de colecciones de piedras talladas dejadas por poblaciones ambulantes. Aplicamos este modelo a los datos geoquímicos reunidos de artefactos de obsidiana procedentes de tres regiones norteamericanas-occidentales. Como era previsto, los resultados muestran patrones notablemente distintos en la composición geoquímica de las lascas pequeñas y grandes y de herramientas formales. Mientras las herramientas y lascas pequeñas suelen tener una mayor diversidad de fuentes y como promedio se encuentran más lejos de sus fuentes originales, las lascas grandes tienden a componerse de menos fuentes que también están más cercanas. Los resultados sugieren que el dejar de incluir reducciones (desbastes) y microdebitage (micro desechos) de las etapas finales (e.g., lascas de presión) en los estudios de fuentes, se puede sesgar las interpretaciones sobre la extensión/los límites de movilidad residencial y/o patrones de comercio porque las fuentes más lejanas quedan sub-representadas.

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Reduction Strategies and Geochemical Characterization of Lithic Assemblages: A Comparison of Three Case Studies from Western North America

  • Jelmer W. Eerkens (a1), Jeffrey R. Ferguson (a2), Michael D. Glascock (a3), Craig E. Skinner (a4) and Sharon A. Waechter (a5)...

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