Taking a Second Look

Post by Emily Rocha, PSU undergraduate and Archaeology Lab Intern

Flakes (stone tool-making debris) from a coastal village site (Photo by Emily Rocha)

Flakes (stone tool-making debris) from a coastal village site (Photo by Emily Rocha)

This quarter I have been going back through the bulk samples we sorted last term. I have been double checking them, or basically, resorting them making sure each material type is in its correct place. The step after this, which I have done a bit of, is to weigh and count each material type. On my first day in this quarter I counted 2075 piece of burnt bone on one tray alone!

Going through the material a second time, I have been photographing interesting objects. I have especially grown fond of the colorful lithics. There are also some rocks we have been labeling ‘manuports’ as they are not native to the area and were therefore imported from elsewhere.

This term has been great experience for the detailed lab work involved in archaeology – it is much more than digging in the dirt!

Shelby notes: The abundance of flaked stone tools, along with ground slate, from the site that Emily is working on is intriguing, particularly given the age of the site (I think less than 1000 years old, but no radiocarbon dates yet).  There is no local source for lithic material near the site.  Even the beach is sand, so there are no local beach cobbles to use in tool-making.  It seems that all the lithic material at the site was imported.  We have found many chunks of poor quality raw material at the site that was unused or tested.  But, no larger pieces of the higher quality (cryptocrystalline silicate) material.

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