Chapter 10 vocab (book)
• Hammerstone: Tool used in the production of stone tools. The hammerstone is the percussor,
the tool used to strike a stone core to remove flakes or to strike a flake in order to thin,
sharpen and shape a tool. The hammerstone needn't be harder than the core; often
spherical and, therefore, without facets or angles of less than 90 degrees, and
hammerstone's geometry provides it with much of its strength and durability.
• Percussion flaking:Amethod of stone tool making in which a nucleus of stone is struck with a
hammerstone or antler percussor in order to remove stone flakes. Percussion flaking
amy be used in a primary step in stone tool production in which large flakes that will be
worked further into tools are removed from cores or in intermediates and final steps in
which a tool is thinned, sharpened and shaped into its final form.
• Pressure flaking: A method of stone tool making in which relatively small flakes
are removed from larger flakes by the application of pressure. Pressure
flaking tools are ordinarily made of antler or metal; bone and wood
generally are too soft. Because the pressure flaking tool can be positioned
precisely at the point where the knapper hopes to remove a flake, pressure
flaking is used for the finer work in stone tool making, including precise
edge sharpening, flake thinning, final shaping, and notching.
• Ethnography: The study of a living group of people by living among them, observing their
behavior, and participating in their daily activities. The published work describing the
research of an ethnographer is also called an ethnography.
• Ethnohistory: Written descriptions of foreign or alien cultures produced not by trained
ethnographers whose purpose was to describe such cultures but by explorers,
adventurers, colonists, traders, missionaries, and others who encountered alien peoples
accidentally while exploring, adventuring, colonizing, trading or proselytizing. The
advantage of ethnohistorical works rests in the fact that they are among the earliest
descriptions of many of the worlds non-European societies and, therefore, reflect the
cultures of non-European peoples before they were significantly altered by such contact.
The disadvantages rests in the fact that those who wrote ethnohistorical descriptions of
alien cultures were generally not trained scientists, were not unbiased reporters, and had
particular agendas and purpose that often detracted from the objectivity of their
• ExperimentalArchaeology: Answering questions about the cultures of past
peoples by attempting to replicate particular elements of their behavior.
Usually applied to material culture, experimental archaeologists attempt
to figure out how tools were made and used by actually going through the
trial-and-error process of making and using them. Experimental
archaeology certainly contributes to our scientific understanding of
specific processes of the technologies of past peoples, but it also does
something more: It provides us with a visceral appreciation for past
technologies through the humbling experience of actually trying to
make and use things similar to objects made by past people.
• Knapper:Aperson who knaps, that is, to strike stone in an effort to shape the stone into a tool or
produce flakes that can be used as is or be further shaped into tools.Aflint knapper
refers specifically to a stone tool maker who knaps flint. Knappers are also occasionally
referred to as “rock-knockers”
• Percussor: The tool used in percussion flaking to remove flakes from a core. Ordinarily, the percussor may be of stone or of antler. In either case, the percussor does not need to be
harder than the rock that makes up the core, it merely must be harder to break. The
geometry of a percussor contributes to its durability.
• Object piece: In stone tool making, the stone that you are striking with a hammerstone or antler
hammer or the stone to which you are applying pressure with a pressure flaking tool Its
simple enough: its the piece of stone that is the object of your percussion or pressure.
• Striking Platform: The surface of a core or flake- usually flat or platformlike- that the percussor
strikes in an attempt to remove a flake from a contiguous core or flake surface that
intersects with the striking platform at an angle of less than 90 degrees.
• Angle ofApplied force: In percussion flaking, the angle between the striking platform and the
trajectory of the hammerstone as you bring it down on the core or flake. In pressure
flaking, the angle between the surface of the flake and the direction of the applied
pressure. The angle of applied force should be less than 90 degrees in most
circumstances. An angle approaching 90 degrees will ten to produce long flakes
extending down the length of the core; and acute angle of applied force ordinarily will
result in shorter by ver thin sharp-edged flakes.
• Elastic Limit:Although rock may seem hard and brittle, many rock forms actually are flexible,
at least at a microscopic level. They are in fact “elastic” and deform, if only very
slightly, when a force-either percussion or pressure- is applied. Up to a certain level of
applied force, the rock will rebound when the force is removed. Once a certain level is
reached, a level that varies with each type of rock and even among different geographic
sources of the same rock type, the rock cannot sustain the force and rebound and,
instead, breaks. The maximum force a rock can sustain before breaking is its elastic
limit. In stone tool making the craftsperson exceeds the elastic limit of the rock to
• Oldowan: The name given to the earliest stone tool industry. First found in
Olduvai Gorge in eastern Africa, Oldowan tools