Flint and Quartzite: Distinguishing Raw Material Through Bone Cut Marks



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Maté-González, Miguel Ángel and Yravedra Sainz de los Terreros, José and Martín Perea, David Manuel and Palomeque-González, J. and San‐Juan‐Blazquez, M. and Estaca-Gómez, Verónica and Uribelarrea del Val, David and Álvarez-Alonso, David and Cuartero, F. and Cuartero Monteagudo, Felipe and González-Aguilera, D. and Domínguez‐Rodrigo, M. (2017) Flint and Quartzite: Distinguishing Raw Material Through Bone Cut Marks. Archaeometry . ISSN 0003-813X, online ISSN: 1475-4754

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Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/arcm.12327


Since the 1980s, several experimental analyses have been able to differentiate some lithic tool types and some of their raw materials according to the morphology of cut marks imprinted by such tools when used for butchering activities. Thus, metal tool use has been differentiated in contexts with an abundance of lithic tools, or even the use of hand axes has been documented in carcass processing, in contrast with simple unretouched or retouched flakes. As important as this information is, there are still other important aspects to be analysed. Can cut marks produced with different lithic raw material types be differentiated? Can cut marks made with different types of the same raw material type be characterized and differentiated? The objective of this study is to evaluate if cut marks resulting from the use of different flints and different quartzites are distinguishable from each other. In the present work, an experimental analysis of hundreds of cut marks produced by five types of flint and five varieties of quartzite was carried out. Microphotogrammetry and geometric–morphometric techniques were applied to analyse these cut marks. The results show that flint cut marks and quartzite cut marks can be characterized at the assemblage level. Different types of flint produced cut marks that were not significantly different from each other. Cut marks made with Olduvai Gorge quartzite were significantly different from those produced with a set comprising several other types of quartzites. Crystal size, which is larger in Olduvai Gorge quartzites (0.5 mm) than Spanish quartzites (177–250 μm), is discussed as being the main reason for these statistically significant differences. This documented intra‐sample and inter‐sample variance does not hinder the resolution of the approach to differentiate between these two generic raw material types and opens the door for the application of this method in archaeological contexts.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:raw materials, flint, quartzite, cut marks, micro‐morphometry, micro‐photogrammetry
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
Humanities > History > Archaeology
ID Code:48316
Deposited On:28 Jun 2018 17:36
Last Modified:11 Dec 2018 08:41

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