Anvil A surface, usually stone that
functions as a resting place for the object during
production. Characterized by localized indentations and pitting generally near
Artifact Any object made be mankind.
Any piece of stone, bone, plant material that has been used and or modified be
A heavy chopping implement with a symmetric working edge that is hafted in a
handle, used to usually chop wood.
A dark colored aphanitic (fine grained) igneous rock (volcanic rock). Contains mainly
plagioclase, pyroxene, and olivine.
Blade An elongated piece of stone that
was detached from a core. Rule of thumb being twice as long as it is wide.
Bulb of Percussion The swollen area
(rounded raised area) on a surface where it meets the striking platform. Caused
by the force of the strike from stone working tool. The bulb of percussion is
the primary feature that identifies the ventral surface of a flake or blade
artifact. Locating its position reveals which is the proximal end of an
Burin Any artifact used for the
purpose of engraving and cutting into another surface. Chisel like implement.
Burin spall The piece struck off to
produce the burin.
Carinated Artifact possessing the
shape of a ships keel, some what triangular shaped.
grain verity of Quartz often deposited as a secondary filler of voids in
volcanic rocks, such as cavities and fissures. Found in almost every
color. Tends to be translucent in light colors to opaque as colors become
darker. Agate, jasper, flint and chert are interchangeable forms of
chalcedony. Red color is produced by hematite, gray and black by ferric
iron or organic carbon.
grain verity of Quartz, usually lighter colored, commonly found as nodules in
Chopper A heavy, relative thick edged,
minimally worked stone tool presumed to have been used in chopping and cutting
Conchoidal ripples Concentric rings or
ribs radiating out from the bulb of percussion (point of impact). On the ventral
surface, they appear as positive relief, and on the dorsal surface appear as
Cleavage surface The surface created
by a rock or mineral when broken along a preferred (natural) direction, creating
a bright reflective plane surface.
Core The original rock, slab, cobble
from which portions were removed by force (percussion of pressure), resulting in
an artifact, which may be retouched or otherwise modified.
Core tool An artifact that uses the
modified core as a tool, rather that the removed flakes, i.e. choppers and hand
Cortex The natural exterior surface of
a rock weathered by natural processes.
Debitage The waste material that is
produced in the manufacture of the artifacts.
Denticulated A characteristic large
spaced "saw toothed" pattern created by retouches on the perimeter of
Distal end The opposite end of an
artifact (proximal end) from where the bulb of percussion is located.
Dorsal surface The surface of an
artifact that exhibits cortex or flake scars resulting from the removal of
material before detachment of the piece from the core. The surface of the removed piece that is the furthest away from the
core body. Also known at the primary, principal, or front view. It is opposite of the
End scraper A tool with the working
edge on the proximal or distal end of the artifact, also see side scraper and
Flake Rule of thumb being a piece that
is less than twice as long as it is wide. Also used as a general term meaning
any fragment of stone removed from a core piece by force often exhibiting a
conchoidal fractured surface.
Flake Scar The marks left on the
surface of an artifact by the removal of chips and flakes from the working and
retouching of the artifact.
Flint Fine grain verity of
Quartz, usually characterized by its darker color gray, red, black, and
sometimes even white. commonly found as layers in limestone.
Flute A flake removed longitudinally
from the base of a projectile point to create a groove or channel to aide in hafting
To attach a handle or shaft, such as a stick, to a artifact with leather strips
or natural fibers.
Halfa The name associated to a type of
prepared core and to the final piece struck from it, weather or not the piece is
retouched later. "Levallois" is an example of a halfa artifact. The
artifact displays distinct flake scars often in a parallel bladelet pattern or
flake scared pattern on the distal end.
Hammerstone Tool used as a hammer to
detach flakes from a core. Usually a hard rock such as quartzite, characterized
by crushed and battered regions on one or more edges.
Hand Axe Also known as bifaces, are
usually large artifacts semi-flat with outlines that narrow towards the top
(distal end) and larger at the at the base, often in an almond or pear shape, or
heart shaped form. Handaxes usually exhibit flake scars and retouches extend
over most or all of the major opposing surfaces.
Hinge fracture The abrupt and steeply
prominent termination of the distal end of a flake scar. Rounded or curved
An acute edged cutting implement, often used to refer to a well worked thin
artifact such as biface with acute edges.
Levallois The name associated to a
type of prepared core and to the final piece struck from it, weather or not the
piece is retouched later. Levallois technique exhibits diagnostic scars
particular to the fashioning of a Levallois flake or blade.
The wear or damage on an artifact's cutting edge caused be its intended use,
such as in the process of cutting and scrapping wood, bone, meat, and hide.
Oblique At an angle to both the
vertical and the horizontal.
Patina The visible alterations to the
surface of the artifact with respect to the properties concerning color, luster,
and texture. The patina is a naturally occurring process resulting from
weathering, such as heat and cold, wind-driven particles, moisture, water
action, and naturally occurring geochemical processes. Patina gives the artifact
its "old look". An important and excellent indicator of an artifacts
Flaking technique that uses a direct strike such as a hammer stone hitting a
piece of lithic material. Also soft hammer percussion technique, direct
strike from a bone, antler, or wood hammer tool.
Platform Is the area on the core that
receives the blows or pressure that remove pieces.
Pressure flaking Flaking
technique that uses a build up of pressure to remove a flake from a piece of
Projectile point A weapon tip
for an implement such as an arrow, blade, or
Proximal end The end of an artifact
from where the bulb of percussion is located.
Mineral composed of silicon-oxygen. Has a glassy luster and a conchoidal
Quartzite Quartz sandstone recrystallized by metamorphism.
Heat and pressure fuse
quartz grains together to form a dense, fine, medium, or large grained sugar
Sharpening an artifact by detaching flakes along a previously used edge which
has become dulled. May occur a number or times on a single tool.
Retouch All intentional flaking that
modifies an artifact after detachment from the core. Commonly in a series of
contiguous small flake scars located on the perimeter of the tool. Retouching
is used to sharpen, thin, shape, blunt, or other wise modify the artifact.
Scar ridges The boundaries of
individual flake scars.
A tool designed to be used to scrape material such as wood, bone, and
hide. the main feature is a steep working angle.
Serrated Retouched along a cutting
edge to form small saw-like teeth.
Side scraper A scrapper with
the working edge on the lateral side (edge) of the artifact. Also see end scraper
Sickle A crescent shaped object with
retouches on the convex edge.
Striations Scratches produced on an
artifact from being used.
Truncation The process that produced
drastic redirection of the outline in the artifacts distal or proximal
region. A tool can exhibit truncation with respect to being straight, convex, or
Usewear The damage or wear on the edge
of an artifact as a result of its being used. Examples of usewear are
small flakes being removed from edge, polished and smoothed edges from cutting
hide, scrapping bone and wood, and abrasions that round the edge and leave striations.
Ventifact A rock naturally
shaped and polished by the wind-blown sand material being used as an abrasive.
Ventral surface The surface of the
artifact that was attached to the core. (The opposite of dorsal surface) The
ventral side contains(ed) the bulb of percussion. Also known as the back of the
Weathering The naturally occurring
process which alters the surface (color, luster, and texture ) of an artifact
resulting from heat and cold, wind-driven particles, moisture, water action, and
naturally occurring geochemical processes.
Brian P. Kooyman, Understanding Stone Tools and Archaeology Sites,
Lucile R. Addington, Lithic
Each artifact is unique and no two
pieces are quite the same, similar to snowflakes. So once an item is purchased,
there usually is not another artifact to replace it.
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