Aggregate Analysis in Chipped Stone

Less than two decades ago, archaeologists considered lithic debitage, the flakes and debris left from the manufacture of stone tools, little more than uninformative waste. Since then, fieldworkers have increasingly recognized that stone flakes can provide information both singly and in aggregate.

Many methods are now available for analyzing lithic debitage, yet no single method is entirely reliable as a vehicle to meaningful interpretation of past behavior. Part of the problem lies in the disparity between tightly controlled experimental conditions and the difficulty of sorting individual sequences out of the masses of stone found in many archaeological sites. Contributors to this volume seek to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the more widespread and competing analytical forms while arguing for the use of multiple lines of evidence. As the title indicates, their primary focus is on mass analysis of aggregates rather than individual flakes. Thus several chapters also address problems of subdividing aggregates to better deal with the “mixed assemblages” generated by multiple factors over time.

Christopher Hall is staff archaeologist with Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. in Lexington, Kentucky.

Mary Lou Larson is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, and associate director of the George C. Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. She is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Hell Gap: A Stratified Paleoindian Campsite at the Edge of the Rockies.

Table of Contents:
List of Figures
List of Tables

I. Aggregate Studies in Chipped Stone Analysis
1. Chipped Stone Aggregate Analysis in Archaeology ~ Mary Lou Larson

II. Evaluation of Aggregate Analysis Methods
2. Exploring Mass Analysis, Screens, and Attributes ~ Philip J. Carr and Andrew P. Bradbury
3. The Role of Small-Sized Debitage in Aggregate Lithic Analysis ~ Mark F. Baumler and Leslie B. Davis
4. Technological Analysis of Flake Debris and the Limitations of Size-Grade Techniques ~ Matthew J. Root
5. Seeing the Trees but Missing the Forest: Production Sequences and Multiple Linear Regression ~ Mary Lou Larson and Judson B. Finley
6. Debitage Taphonomy ~ Jeffrey T. Rasic

III. Alternate Approaches to Aggregate Analysis
7. Evaluating Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherer Mobility, Land Use, and Technological Organization Strategies Using Minimum Analytical Nodule Analysis ~ Christopher T. Hall
8. Coarse-Scale Chipped Stone Aggregates and Technological Organization Strategies in the Hell Gap Locality V Cody Complex Component, Wyoming ~ Edward J. Knell
9. Refiitting as Aggregate Analysis ~ Peter Bleed

IV. The Current State of Aggregate Analysis
10. Partitioning the Aggregate: Mass Analysis and Debitage Assemblages ~ William Andrefsky Jr.
11. Aggregate Methods and the Future of Debris Analysis ~ Michael J. Shott


Praise and Reviews:

"This volume is a shot in the arm."—William Prentiss, University of Montana

"Well-organized and esthetically pleasing.... a welcome addition to the literature for lithic analysis."—Journal of Anthropological Research

"This book promotes the right way of doing lithic analysis. It clearly defines the problems and provides some solutions. Any and all lithic analysts who are wondering about how to conduct analysis on a given project should consider the major points of this book."—Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology