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The results of lithic experiments performed on glass cores are applicable to other raw materials

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Dogandžić,  Tamara
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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McPherron,  Shannon P.
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Dogandžić, T., Abdolazadeh, A., Leader, G., Li, L., McPherron, S. P., Tennie, C., et al. (2020). The results of lithic experiments performed on glass cores are applicable to other raw materials. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 12: 44. doi:10.1007/s12520-019-00963-9.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-C5D4-D
Abstract
About 10 years ago, a new experimental design, based on a mechanical flaking apparatus, allowed complete control over several independent variables essential to flintknapping. This experimental setting permitted the investigation of more fundamental aspects of stone technology, including the effect of particular platform attributes, core surface morphology, and the application of force on flake size and shape. These experiments used cores made of glass that were molded to exact configurations. Here we set out to investigate whether results obtained from experiments on glass cores can be extended to other materials, in this case varieties of basalt, flint, and obsidian that were cut to the exact core configurations. We focused on the relationships between the independent variables of exterior platform angle and platform depth and dependent variables of overall size (weight or mass), volume, and linear dimensions. It was found that in almost every comparison, all four materials show similar relationships in nature and degree. What differs instead is the amount of force needed to detach a flake. In other words, given the same core morphology and platform attributes the resulting flakes will be the same, but harder materials require more force to remove the flake. These results were additionally verified on Middle Paleolithic archeological materials made mostly on Late Cretaceous flints. Our results demonstrate that experiments using glass cores are valid and can be generalized and extended to other materials.