A note on the term 'lithic'

  • George (Rip) Rapp Department of Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota
Keywords: lithic, terminology, etymology


The term ‘lithic’ is derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘rock’ (lithos), used in the late fourth century BCE by the scholar Theophrastus. The term ‘lithic’ in the way we use it today, meaning small rock artifact, most often chipped or ground stone, came into common use less than eight decades ago. The terms ‘stone tool’ and ‘stone implement’ remain firmly entrenched in the archaeological literature. 

Author Biography

George (Rip) Rapp, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota, Duluth and Twin Cities, U.S.A.


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How to Cite
Rapp, G. (Rip). (2014). A note on the term ’lithic’. Journal of Lithic Studies, 1(1), 345-348. https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v1i1.753
Summary, synthesis, and annotated bibliography articles