Prehistoric Lithic Description and Analysis

The lithics course introduces individuals to the technology of stone tool manufacture, the identification of tool classes, and basic lithic analysis.  It is important that individuals learn to recognize this kind of material, as it's often the best indication of the presence of an archaeological site.

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Stone tools from a cache.

Stone tools from a cache.

Photo by Kevin Black.

Class Outline

  1. Rock types and documented cultural uses
    1. Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock
    2. Tool stone sources in Colorado
  2. Early evidence of lithic technology
  3. Flaked stone tool manufacture and use
    1. Manufacture stages of bifacial tools
    2. Core types and percussion flaking
    3. Flake types and attributes
    4. Wear patterns and indications of use
    5. Blanks and preforms
    6. Pressure flaking and types of retouch
  4. Ground and pecked stone artifacts
    1. Tools and materials used in manufacture
    2. Techniques of manufacture
    3. Wear patterns and indications of use
  5. Lithics in site interpretation
    1. Characteristics to note on survey
    2. Pattern analysis
  6. Stone tool typology
    1. Defining classes and types of tools
    2. Artifact attributes useful in analysis
  7. Common tool classes in Colorado
    1. Ground and pecked stone tools
    2. Carved stone tools
    3. Flaked stone tools