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Form Function And Style In Lithic Analysis Pdf

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Refworks Account Login. Open Collections. UBC Theses and Dissertations. Featured Collection. The research contributes to current archaeological method through an experimental program of stone tool manufacture, and also to current understanding of Interior Plateau pre-history, through a multiregiohal analysis of technological varia b i l i t y.

Romancing the Stones: Biases, Style and Lithics at La Riera

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A short summary of this paper. In keeping with the organizers' emphasis on the discussion of This chapter consists of three related parts.

Next, I address the issue Paleolithic and Mesolithic data base from La of style, and the effects that different preconceptions about style have on whether or not it can be detected in lithic artifacts. Then, having made my own biases explicit or, at any rate, more explicit , I summarize the approaches to lithic analysis taken during the decade-long La Riera Paleoecological Project, a multidisciphnary, international effort focused on understanding prehistoric human adaptations on the north Spanish coastal plain during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene periods.

My ideas about lithic analysis in the relatively early time frames in which I work were formulated during a series of Spanish archaeological projects between and In some respects, the work at La Riera represented the culmination of these efforts, now transferred to the other end of the Mediterranean Jordan , where I have been working since The La Riera Project is a good subject for a contribution to this book, since we tried to do with the lithics there virtually everything we could reasonably think of doing, given the inevitable constraints of time and money.

They shape the analytical approaches deemed appropriate to use and they influence typologies of all kinds and at all levels to a marked degree Kuhn Kuhn , Clark a. I think we can learn relatively little about human behavior from lithic artifaQts alone, especially when compared with other single categories of evidence such as faunal remains.

Apart from universal problems related to the integrity of site contexts and sampling error, the major difficulties are 1 determining what stone artifacts were used for, and 2 whether or not they carried, or could have carried, a symbolic loading of some kind. Many European workers take it for granted that there is a symbolic component encoded in the morphology of stone artifacts that, if we are ingenious enough, we can separate from other sources of morphological variation.

This assumed sym-bolic component often translates into a prehistoric equivalent of 'ethnicity' e. Like most American workers, however, I am skeptical of the notion of style in most categories of lithic artifacts, and, even if we grant its existence on a conceptual level, I do not believe it is very easy to isolate on a practical level.

A second bias is the impression that most discussions of paleolithic stone artifacts are couched in terms of implicit analogies with modern tools, which tend overall to be highly specific in terms of function. I think this kind of analogy can be misleading, especially if projected back into contexts where archaic forms of humans were the tool makers. Premodern uses of stone might have been qualitatively different from those observed in ethnographic contexts.

Even in modern ethnographic situations, the overwhelming weight of the evidence supports an hypothesis of non-specificity, and a highly ad hoc character to the manufacture and use of chipped stone. This has many implications for lithic analysis. It means, among other things, that the fine-grained morphological typologies currently used in Europe and the Levant probably reflect nothing more than prehistorian-defined distinctions in our perceptions of a virtually infinite range of variability -perceptions guided by the highly specific nature of modern technologies.

The typological systematics that embody these distinctions probably had little or nothing to do with prehistoric conceptions of artifact form and function, an observation that calls to mind the 'What Mean These Stones?

If correlations between form and function can be shown to exist, they are usually the rather generalized ones indicated by the edge wear and damage studies of Odell Odell , Odell , Odell , Odell and Odell-Vereecken , Keeley Keeley ,Keeley ,Keeley and Newcomer and Hayden It quickly became apparent that all the participants and most of the audience had rather definite ideas about what style 'was' or 'meant,' both in general and in reference to stone artifacts.

They also expressed a range of opinions as to whether or not it was reasonable to suppose that lithic materials had a stylistic component, and if so, whether or not it was possible to isolate it from other factors that contribute to the overall morphology of a piece. These debates were inconclusive because they depended almost entirely upon the definition of style that one chose to adopt In keeping with these remarks on biases, I briefly review here some of the positions taken on style in general, and in respect of lithic data.

In what follows, it is assumed that the overall morphology of an artifact reflects functional, technological and raw material constraints, and individual motor habits, and that it can in some cases convey, either actively or passively, social messages of various kinds.

Classes of artifacts vary greatly in the extent to which one or another of these constraints is an important determinant of overall form. In terms of postulates and assumptions, approaches to the study of artifact style are sometimes divided into 'information exchange' and 'social interaction' approaches Wobst , see also Carr The information exchange theory of style emphasizes its adaptive function in that it transmits information about group affiliation, ownership, etc.

From an information exchange point of view, style has an active quality, and is used in conscious decisionmaking to express something.

It reflects often transitory situational conditions or needs. The emphasis is on dissimilarities, which convey different emotional, social, or economic messages. The social interaction theory of style represents a partial contrast in that style here has a primarily psychological function i.

It is style in the passive sense in that it reflects modal but alternative ways of doing things learned through enculturation and thus mirrors traditional norms and values. Finally, it is 'normative' because it emphasizes similarity amongst groups of interacting, cooperating individuals who participate in the same or similar ideational systems. Style from a social interaction standpoint would theoretically be long-lived, since it would presumably be desirable to consistently express significant messages over long periods of time.

While different workers can sometimes be identified with one or the other perspective, and while all workers 'weight' the two approaches differently, a moment's reflection makes it clear that it is not so much a question of a dichotomy, but rather one of emphasis. It seems safe to assert that artifact style in general is always and everywhere an amalgam, combining aspects of both the information exchange and social interaction models.

Although this is true as a generalization, it is not always and equally true of particular classes of artifacts. It seems to me that the problem domain would inevitably 'bias biases' in favor of the postulates and assumptions of one or the other approach.

Or, one could be eclectic, choosing aspects of both approaches and ignoring others. This seems to be what has happened within the problem domain of chipped stone artifacts. Sackett's notion of ceramic sociology For obvious physical reasons, the form of lithic artifacts is not free to vary independently of raw material and functional constraints to anywhere near the same extent as the form of pottery is.

This is especially true when the decorative aspects of ceramics are analyzed, as is often the case. In short, I doubt that we can identify a stylistic component in the retouched tool inventories of Paleolithic assemblages.

I do not think normative patterns in the composition of lithic assemblages had anything to do with ethnicity or with identity-conscious social units of any kind or at any scale, at least as these units are conventionally defined by anthropologists. I regard Pleistocene archaeological sites as an order of phenomenon in terms of their natural and cultural formation processes wholly different from the ethnographic situations with which they are sometimes compared.

They are practically never 'little Pompeiis,' where site contextual resolution and integrity are high enough so that identity-conscious social units could theortically be identified Binford And even if preservation were exceptional, and it were possible to identify ethnicity, the temporal resolution of the Paleolithic record, at best reckoned in centuries, would not allow us to do so. However, these preconceptions are only part of the problem.

Another major issue is semantic: style means different things to different people. No discussion of style can avoid coming to grips with definitions, since there are probably as many different conceptions of style as there are archaeologists interested in studying it. One major cleavage plane is whether efforts to convey differences are intentional or whether they are the unconscious byproducts of learning in a social context.

Below I review definitional criteria used by some of the more prominent writers on style in hunter-gatherer contexts. Polly WiessnerPolly Wiessner's notions of 'emblemic' and 'assertive' style are both seemingly intentional, in that the former is used to mark symbolically and, it should be added, ambiguously group affiliation. Emblemic style thus expresses group affiliation symbolically, and comprises the group's norms, values, 'property,' its boundaries, territory, etc.

A contemporary example suggested by Wiessner is a flag. Emblemic style is contrasted with 'assertive' style, defined as formal variation in material culture which is Wiessner Wiessner likens it to the social interaction notion of style in archaeology Cronin , Longacre , insofar as it operates on an idiosyncratic level to separate individuals from 'similar others.

Angela CloseWhen Angela Close , refers to style, she means a microtradition learned unconsciously in a social context and transmitted from one generation to the next, usually within restricted spatial and temporal parameters.

To her, intentional style is 'deliberate' style. Like Sackett , she suggests that all material culture has a stylistic component, which at the broadest level can be defined simply as an optional way of making something that is independent of functional constraints.

The selection of an option is a matter of choice, determined ultimately by learning in a social context. It represents a group's 'traditional way of doing things. She advocates doing this by a process of elimination through which hypotheses related to functional, technological and typological causal vectors are successively eliminated, leaving stylistic variation as the only plausible explanation for observed patterns. Attributes considered likely to monitor stylistic variability are retouch variants especially the manner in which backing is accomplished , the side to which backing is applied vis a vis the axis of the blank , and the position of the 'business end' e.

Of the workers reviewed here, Close is the only one who has sought to illustrate her ideas about style using actual archaeological data sets. Her efforts to demonstrate the approach have used microlithic North African Epipaleolithic assemblages, which have many backed pieces Close Close , Close et al.

Nonparametric and multivariate statistics are used in pattern searching modes, in order to form groups of sites with similar attribute combinations, which are then examined to determine whether they are 'reasonable' or not i. James SackettJames Sackett ,,, rejects a style-function dichotomy, and his 'isochrestic' style can be either intentional or noL Isochrestic style is also the result of localized microtraditions involving specific and consistent choices among options in raw material and within functional constraints, options that in aggregate are supposedly diagnostic of the ethnic group to which the artisans belonged.

To Sackett, there is a significant component of isochrestic style in virtually all categories of material culture. It may be found It may be reflected in the distinctive ways in which tools are used and rejuvenated before being discarded, in the extent and manner in which ad hoc tools are employed, or the degree to which the standardized ones are reproduced within narrow margins of tolerance.

Sackett In other words, it is the sum total of the different components of the overall morphology of a piece of worked stone, which Sackett believes can be completely apprehended by the systematic observations we make via typologies in analyzing stone tools.

Isochrestic style is juxtaposed with 'iconic' style, in which artisans intentionally and self-consciously invest artifacts with a symbolic loading, indicative of group affiliation or ethnic identity. Because of the inclusive nature of his definition of isochrestic style, Sackett is skeptical of attempts to identity iconic style in lithic contexts. Unlike pottery, stone tools do not possess formal variation of the sort that would allow us to objectively and unambiguously identify iL Lewis BinfordIt appears to me that Lewis Binford Binford , Binford ,Binford and Binford also has a fairly consistent notion of style, although it is more difficult to extract as a discrete subject in his numerous writings about the Paleolithic.

In marked contrast with Sackett, with whom he appears to differ on most of these definitional issues, Binford insists on a style-function dichotomy, which implies that he does not think it useful or valid to collapse all formal variation into a single entity i. Style to Binford seems to be something that, conceptually at least, measures ethnicitythe amount of 'social distance' between societies. This in turn implies that stylistic clusters have restricted spatial and temporal parameters, an observation he uses to discredit Bordes 'cultural' explanations for the Mousterian facies, which occur interstratified at a number of French sites.

I have the strong impression, although I cannot track it to a source, that Binford does not believe that a separate axis of stylistic variation can be identified prior to the Upper Paleolithic. This implies or suggests that ethnicity in the conventional anthropological usage did not exist during the Middle Paleolithic or that it cannot be identified archaeologically and probably did not pre-date evidence for fully-modern behaviour -evidence that becomes conclusive after about 20 kyr B.

Operationally, style is a kind of residual category -what Binford thinks is left over after variability due to raw material and functional constraints, and purely idiosyncratic behaviour, is factored out of the equation. According to one's biases, however, readers will clearly favor some definitions, or aspects of them, over others.

Most definitions try to make the following distinctions: 1 Style can be conceptualized as an axis of variability or causal vector free to vary independently of function, raw material and other factors. Of the workers just mentioned, only Sackett would explicitly disagree with this. To Sackett, style occurs whenever there is a choice in the manufacturing process amongst viable alternatives. The favored alternative is what the artisan has learned through enculturation.

If this is done intentionally, style would correspond to Wiessner's 'emblemic,' Sackett's 'iconic,' and Close's 'deliberate' style. If not, it would equate with Sackett's 'isochrestic' style, Binford's 'style as a residual category,' and Close's notion of 'style as a microtradition.

They can become symbolic of a group, even if they were not originally intended to be symbols.

Artifact (archaeology)

The papers collected here are working documents which have not been edited for publication. They should not be quoted without the permission of the authors. To communicate with the authors via email click on their names. The origins of symbolling Robert G. Criteria of symbolicity. Stone tool "style" and the evolutionary origins of symbolism Philip G. Clever Etchings: Prehistoric language, religious language, and prehistoric religions Peter Jackson University of Chicago.

Recent Developments In the Analysis of Lithic Artifacts

The hypothesis that the principal varieties of Middle Paleolithic scrapers reflect varying degrees of resharpening and rejuvenation, rather than discrete emic types, has generated considerably controversy over the past decade. While there have been certain misunderstandings surrounding the proposed models of scraper reduction, this controversy also reflects different approaches taken by prehistorians in interpreting lithic artifacts. Placing the notion of scraper reduction in the context of lithic processes generally known as the Frison Effect, this article presents the background and intellectual context of this interpretation and attempts to clarify the models themselves and their test implications. It also reviews and summarizes data generated by several independent tests of the hypothesis and presents new data bearing on this question.

Middle paleolithic scraper reduction: Background, clarification, and review of the evidence to date

An artifact , [a] or artefact see American and British English spelling differences , is a general term for an item made or given shape by humans, such as a tool or a work of art, especially an object of archaeological interest. Artifact is the general term used in archaeology, while in museums the equivalent general term is normally "object", and in art history perhaps artwork or a more specific term such as "carving". The same item may be called all or any of these in different contexts, and more specific terms will be used when talking about individual objects, or groups of similar ones.

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In archaeology , lithic analysis is the analysis of stone tools and other chipped stone artifacts using basic scientific techniques. The term 'lithic analysis' can technically refer to the study of any anthropogenic human-created stone, but in its usual sense it is applied to archaeological material that was produced through lithic reduction knapping or ground stone. A thorough understanding of the lithic reduction and ground stone processes, in combination with the use of statistics, can allow the analyst to draw conclusions concerning the type of lithic manufacturing techniques used at a prehistoric archaeological site.

Даже до нижних веток было не достать, а за неширокими стволами невозможно спрятаться. Халохот быстро убедился, что сад пуст, и поднял глаза вверх, на Гиральду. Вход на спиральную лестницу Гиральды преграждала веревка с висящей на ней маленькой деревянной табличкой. Веревка даже не была как следует натянута.

Ангел, подумал. Ему захотелось увидеть ее глаза, он надеялся найти в них избавление. Но в них была только смерть.

Сеньор Ролдан забирал большую часть ее заработка себе, но без него ей пришлось бы присоединиться к бесчисленным шлюхам, что пытаются подцепить пьяных туристов в Триане.

 - Сомневаюсь, что Танкадо пошел бы на риск, дав нам возможность угадать ключ к шифру-убийце. Сьюзан рассеянно кивнула, но тут же вспомнила, как Танкадо отдал им Северную Дакоту. Она вглядывалась в группы из четырех знаков, допуская, что Танкадо играет с ними в кошки-мышки.

 Да, - сказал Фонтейн, - и двадцать четыре часа в сутки наши фильтры безопасности их туда не пускают. Так что вы хотите сказать. Джабба заглянул в распечатку. - Вот что я хочу сказать.

Стоявшая за стойкой симпатичная андалузка посмотрела на него и ответила с извиняющейся улыбкой: - Acaba de salir.

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