2 1 97-107 2015

Indexing flakes according to their mode of creation

Robert Patten


The major dimensions of a flake are shown to accurately capture how a knapper's actions manage the impact dynamics responsible for flake formation. When weight and density are also known, those same dimensions convey essential information about the volumetric geometry of a flake, including basic flake shapes typically valued for tools or to control core morphology. Combining the complementary modes of information allows the culturally imbedded heritage of a removed flake to be sufficiently represented that lithic analysts can reliably evaluate the mechanisms of flake formation without needing to be skilled flintknappers themselves. Presuming that habits of making flakes are culturally determined, it should be feasible to distinguish signature traits between lithic traditions.


flake morphology; knapping behaviour; impact dynamics; fracture mechanics

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v2i1.1139


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