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Notes on Paleolithic Typology

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McGill University
ANTH 311
Michael Bisson

Raw material All potentially flaked material as it exists in its natural stateNodules More or less rounded stones of flint and other finegrained chertsTabletsFlattish tablets of flint and other grained chertsBlocks Other raw material types that are squarish or angularPebblesCobblesStones that have been heavily rounded due to river marine or glacial actionCortexNatural exterior surface on nodules of flintPatina Another term for surface weathering usually alteration of a surface of the rock after it has been flaked much lighter in color than unaltered flintReduction sequenceThe total of the various processes for the preparation of a flint nodule the production of flakes and their final retouching into finished toolsHammer Either astone or in later stages of reduction a piece of antler or wood used to strike the material and remove flakes Conchoidal fractureThe application of force initiates this fracture that cleaves though the material until it intersects an exterior surface and produces a flakeFlake The initial piece chipped off of a coreStriking platform The surface core that is stuckPrimary flake The first flake removed from a piece of raw material ehich will preserve cortex on its entire exterior surfaceCore The stone from which this flake was removedSecondary Flake Further flakes removed from the core showing diminishing though variable amounts of cortex on their exterior surfaces because of the latter will be partially or completely composed of previous flake scarsRetouching Flakes that are transformed further and thus not in their unfinished stateTools Deliberately retouched flakesBlanks Flakes that are sufficiently large andor have other necessary characteristics to be counted as potential toolsDebris Leftover of flaking resulting from retouching and resharpening When a flake shatters into angular chunks with no clear flake landmarks it is also referred to as shatterFlake tools Those that are fashioned from a flake blankTHE PRODUCTS OF FLAKINGComplete flake A flake that is whole not broken even if there are small nicks or damage along the edges if the damage would not seriously affect the taking of measurementsBroken flake A partial flake or tool that retains the platformFragments Medial and distal portionsBladeFlakes whose length is at least 2X greater than their width Bladelet Smaller than 50 mm in length or 12 mm in widthFLAKE LANDMARKSInterior ventral surface the surface created by the fracture planeExterior dorsal surface The exterior of the core before the flake was removedPoint of Percussion The exact point of impact on the platform immediately adjacent to the interior surface origin of the cone and bulb of percussionConcentric ripples Radiate distally from the point of percussion along the bulb whose concavity reflects the direction of the blow that removed the flakeFlake scars wit ridges between them Evidence of full or partial remnants of the original cortex on the exterior surface that was on the nodule or traces of flakes that were previously removedProximal end Platform end also the base of the tool for retouched piecesDistal end Opposite to proximalMedial portion Region between the proximal and distal endRightLeft Lateral margins Viewed from the exterior surface with the proximal end downPLATFORM SURFACECortical vs Plain Smooth previously flaked surface vs PreparedFacets Removal of small flakes in platform preparation from the exterior margin of the core along the platform surface before a flake is removed to modify the angle of the platform or to strengthen the platform for flakingDihedral Where 2 facets intersect at a relatively sharp angleFaceted Include 3 or more facets along the surface
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