Journal of Lithic Studies 2023-12-21T00:00:00+00:00 Otis Crandell Open Journal Systems <p>The Journal of Lithic Studies is a peer-reviewed open access journal which focuses on archaeological research into the manufacture and use of stone tools, as well as the origin and properties of the raw materials used in their production. The journal does not focus on any specific geographic region or time period.</p> Obsidian Lithic Technology, Chaîne Opératoire and Symbolic Meaning in the Northern Hualfín Valley (Northwest Argentina) during Late - Inka Period 2023-08-28T15:23:02+01:00 Emiliano Bentivenga Julieta Lynch <p>The main objective of this research is to analyse the lithic technology applied to obsidian, a raw material popular amongst pre-Columbian populations from Northwestern Argentina (NWA) because of its social and symbolic value. The analysed assemblage comes from the archaeological site of Villavil 2 (VV2), located in the Hualfín Valley (Catamarca, Argentina) and distant <em>ca</em>. 100 - 200 kms from the nearest sources of this raw material. VV2 was discovered in 2015 by one of the authors and shows a particular presence of rock art which had not previously been registered in this area. The site was associated to the Late and Inka Period (<em>ca.</em> 10<sup>th</sup> - 16<sup>th</sup> centuries CE). So far, we suggest that this was a place of temporal, but periodical use that best fits with what we would call a ceremonial space.</p> <p>The assemblage comprises the totality of obsidian elements collected from both superficial and stratigraphic contexts. It was divided into three typological classes: tools (projectile points), flakes with natural sharp edges (FNSE) and waste products (WP). We did not identify the presence of cores. The analysis considered the following variables: knapping methods and techniques, size, amount of cortex, flake type and edge types.</p> <p>At VV2, points are the only retouched tools made of obsidian. They correspond to the triangular unstemmed concave-based type, very common during the Late-Inka Periods, and they were shaped using the perimetral bifacial pressure technique, possibly from flake blanks. FNSEs’ size is small, and they present scarce cortex. On the other hand, the abundance of very small-sized WPs is remarkable. They were found in the same stratigraphic context and attest a complete finish of the points (edge retouch).</p> <p>The results let us infer that the point-shaping tasks were carried out <em>in situ</em>. Moreover, the implemented technology involved both major production efforts and skills, that contrast with those involved in local raw material knapping. It is possible that this curated strategy was not related to the difficulty of accessing this allochthonous material. Instead, these choices could reflect social and symbolic meanings. According to linguistic and ethnohistoric information, the obsidian brightness and transparency are propitiatory to win the favour of the <em>w'akas</em>. Furthermore, in NWA the obsidian long-distance exchange is an ancient pre-Columbian tradition that lasted for a long time. Obtaining obsidian could display the ability of a social group to access distant resources and legitimize their political status. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that this raw material also was very important for making different artefacts for subsistence activities.</p> 2023-05-18T12:31:53+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## What lies in between: Levallois, discoid and intermediate methods 2023-08-28T15:23:02+01:00 Guillermo Bustos-Pérez Javier Baena Manuel Vaquero <p class="abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">Lithic artefacts are usually associated with the different knapping methods used in their production. Flakes exhibit metric and technological features representative of the flaking method used to detach them. However, lithic production is a dynamic process in which discrete methods can be blurred, and in which features can vary throughout the process. An intermediate knapping method between the discoid and Levallois is commonly referred to under an umbrella of terms (the present research uses the term hierarchical discoid), and is associated with a broad geographical and chronological distribution throughout the Early and Middle Palaeolithic. This intermediate knapping strategy exhibits features of both the discoid and Levallois knapping methods, raising the question of the extent to which flakes from the three knapping methods can be differentiated and, when one is mistaken for another, the direction of confusion. An experimental assemblage of flakes detached by means of the three methods was used along with an attribute analysis and machine learning models in an effort to identify the knapping methods employed. In general, our results were able to very effectively differentiate between the three knapping methods when a support vector machine with polynomial kernel was used. Our results also underscored the singularity of flakes detached by means of Levallois reduction sequences, which yielded outstanding identification values, and were rarely erroneously attributed to either of the other two knapping methods studied. Mistaking the products of the discoid and hierarchical discoid methods was the most common direction of confusion, although a good identification value was achieved for discoid flakes and an acceptable value for hierarchical discoid flakes. This shows the potential applicability of machine learning models in combination with attribute analysis for the identification of these knapping methods among flakes.</span></p> 2023-05-18T12:53:07+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Techno -economy of lithic raw materials in Piedmont (north-western Italy). A first life-like scenario 2023-08-28T15:23:01+01:00 Sara Daffara Gabriele Luigi Francesco Berruti Sandro Caracausi Maite García-Rojas Marta Arzarello <p>Data about Palaeolithic peopling, settlement dynamics and techno-economy of the south-western margin of the Alpine region are sketchy. In this area, the lack of systematic research and the scarcity of lithic raw materials, spread the idea that Piedmont was not inhabited during Palaeolithic. In 2009, the re-starting of the excavations at the Ciota Ciara cave, gave rise to new questions and to the development of research projects at a regional scale.</p> <p>The Ciota Ciara cave is the only Middle Palaeolithic site object of multidisciplinary and systematic investigations. Its lithic assemblage, analysed through a techno-economic approach, allows to understand in detail the technological choices and the land mobility of the Neanderthal groups on a local and sub-regional scale. Other Middle Palaeolithic assemblages are known in the region and are all issued from surface collections. They come from the northern part of the region, from Vaude Canavesane, Trino, Baragge biellesi and Colline Novaresi. The technological study of these assemblages led to the identification of strong similarities in the technological choices of the Middle Palaeolithic human groups: they based their technology on the exploitation of vein quartz, a rock diffused all over the regional territory, from time to time accompanied by other local (spongolite, rhyolite, metamorphic rocks, jasper) and allochthonous (radiolarite and flint) lithic resources, with technological adaptation to their quality and mechanical properties both when it comes to predetermined methods (Levallois and discoid) and when expedient reduction sequences are used. Concerning Upper Palaeolithic, the only lithic assemblage issued from an archaeological excavation (and therefore with a clear stratigraphic context) is that from the Epigravettian site of Castelletto Ticino. Other lithic artefacts referable on a techno-typological basis to Upper Palaeolithic are from Trino and Colline Novaresi. As for Middle Palaeolithic, the techno-economic approach used in the analysis of these lithic assemblages, allow to have, for the first time, reliable data at a regional scale.</p> <p>In this work we present the data obtained after about ten years of research in Piedmont: they outline a scenario where, even in the limits of analysis mostly based on materials issued from surface collections, we can see both clear differences between the Middle and the Upper Palaeolithic technological behaviours and hypothesise the land mobility of the hunter-gatherers’ groups that inhabited the region.</p> 2023-05-18T13:08:42+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Cal Sitjo: A new Mesolithic to Neolithic sequence in a chert-rich region (Sant Martí de Tous, NE Iberia) 2023-08-28T15:23:01+01:00 Bruno Gómez de Soler Ethel Allué Javier Cámara Gerard Campeny María Gema Chacón Celia Díez-Canseco Vicenç Guinart Barbara Mas Miguel Soares-Remiseiro María Soto Alfredo Suesta Josep Vallverdú <p>Cal Sitjo is a new archaeological sequence located in a chert-rich region of the NE Iberian Peninsula, in the town of Sant Martí de Tous (Anoia, Barcelona). The area has undergone significant anthropisation and several archaeological sites (<em>e.g.</em>, Vilars de Tous), quarries and workshops for the exploitation of chert (<em>e.g</em>., La Guinardera) have been documented, corresponding to different periods. The abundance of chert made this region an almost obligatory passageway for hunter-gatherer communities such as those occupying the nearby cliffs of Cinglera del Capelló (Capellades), located at a direct distance of 15 km, as well as an ideal settlement for later farming communities.</p> <p>Discovered in 2019, the first excavation campaign was carried out in the fall of 2020. Dates have been obtained from a known sequence of around 8 m, providing a chronological framework that ranges from the Mesolithic to the Middle Neolithic. The preliminary results of this excavation have brought to light lithics, ceramics and charcoals from the Neolithic levels (Levels 3 and 4), and faunal, lithic and charcoal remains from the Mesolithic levels (cleaning section).</p> <p>Our preliminary results confirm that this sequence is an ideal location for a diachronic study of the evolution from the last hunter-gatherers to the first farmers, from a paleoenvironmental and technological perspective, as well as in terms of chert management and distribution in a territory with a great abundance of this raw material.</p> 2023-05-18T16:11:52+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Establishing a new workflow in the study of core reduction intensity and distribution 2023-08-28T15:23:02+01:00 Diego Lombao José Ramón Rabuñal Arturo Cueva-Temprana Marina Mosquera Juan Ignacio Morales <p class="abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">New methodological approaches focused on studying the reduction and use-life of stone tools have emerged in recent years, enabling researchers to move beyond strict technical and technological characterizations and explore specific aspects of occupation dynamics and economic management of resources. Previous studies have shown the importance of reduction distributions of individual measurements rather than averaged values. In this sense, survival analysis, and more specifically Weibull distributions, are one of the main inferential tools used in reduction studies. However, the resolution of Weibull distribution obtained from different methods has not been tested experimentally. In this paper, we present an evaluation of some of the main methods used in the study of core reduction intensity, such as the Volumetric Reconstruction Method, the Scar Density Index, and the non-cortical surface percentage. Our results show 1) strong and positive correlations between these approaches and actual reduction intensity, 2) similar Weibull distributions for non-cortical surface percentage, Volumetric Reconstruction Method, and logarithmic transformation of Scar Density Index. In addition, 3) the results from each method show a similar intra-assemblage variation, with a high percentage of agreement between them.</span></p> <p class="abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">As a result, all the evaluated proposals are useful and reliable methods for estimating the degree of reduction. Finally, a workflow is proposed for approaching reduction in archaeological assemblages by integrating different methods in the same study.</span></p> 2023-05-18T00:00:00+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##