Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Big Core

A large part of our project area contains old stream terraces that are covered with gravel and cobbles of good chippable stone. The prehistoric people who lived here used these as source areas for their lithic tools. Above you can see some crew members recording a small site consisting of a core and a few flakes located on one of those terraces. We have found dozens of sites like this.

Some time back I posted on cores and lithic reduction based on a picture Steve took in a Turkish museum. Most cores you will see on sites here in North America are the size of your fist or smaller. Some cores we have found here are the biggest I have ever seen.

Here is my colleague Sarah taking some measurements on one of those big boys.


mdmnm said...

Great! Another archeology in the field post!

What sort of rock is that? It doesn't look waxy enough for flint. Some other chert?

Reid Farmer said...

In this area we have a lot of basaltic rocks that have metmorphosed such that their grain is fine enough to chip. We refer to these in "short hand" as meta-volcanics.

The mega core Sarah has is the meta-volcanic that forms about 95% of the material we are seeing on sites here.

We are 20 miles or so from a major obsidian source and have yet to find a single piece here on the 250 or so sites we have so far. Big puzzle, especially as we have decent amounts of non-local chert.

mdmnm said...

Thanks, Reid!

It looked like bubbles under the fingers of her left hand in the second photo, indicating volcanic rock, but I wasn't sure. I didn't know that basalt would chip so well.

Very interesting that the folks you all are looking at didn't bring the obsidian such a short distance.