restricted access 6. Chipped Lithic Artifacts
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93 6 Chipped Lithic Artifacts Martin J. Smith One pervasive aspect of Haudenosaunee archeology is the emphasis on the analysis of ceramics (Niemczycki 1984; Hayes 1980; MacNeish 1952). In contrast, other assemblages including chipped lithics (beyond projectile points) have been relatively neglected. By examining all lithic tools recovered from the Corey site, it is possible to discern a more complete range of domestic activities that occurred at the site. The goals of this analysis were to understand the relationships between raw materials and tool types and to explore possible connections between the manufacture and use of stone tools and gender (Gero and Conkey 1991). The analysis suggests that most lithic tools recovered from the site were manufactured and used by women, with the likely exception of the six projectile points, which statistically represent only 6 percent of the recovered tools. The Corey site primarily exhibits an “expedient” lithic technology. Most implements are flake tools struck from cores of different shapes. These tools were used briefly and discarded. This type of lithic industry is opposed to more “curated” industries in which tools were more carefully fashioned and were utilized for longer periods of time (Binford 1973, 1980). Expedient lithic industries have been associated with an abundance of raw lithic material (Binford 1977), decreased mobility or sedentism (Parry and Kelly 1987), and the adoption of the bow and arrow (Railey 2010). Analysis Description A total of ninety-three lithic tools were recovered from the Corey site. Flake tools were sorted into types based on morphology and the relative 94 | martin j. smith location of use edge in relation to striking platform. Spatial distributions of tools were examined in terms of presence in the midden area. Projectile points were analyzed by type and breakage pattern. Raw material types of tools were analyzed to separate the use of locally available streambed versus more distant quarry cherts (see chapter 5). The analysis of raw material types dovetails with the study by Joseph Winiarz, who sampled quarry sites along the Onondaga Escarpment. This geological formation is orientated in an east-west direction along the northern edge of the Finger Lakes, near the route of Interstate 90. The study was useful in identifying many of the lithic materials found at the Corey site and their likely origins. A total of fifteen material types were identified in the Corey assemblage, including four unknown types. Within the lithic assemblage, there are several types of Onondaga cherts discussed by Winiarz. The first is the Seneca type, which is characterized as being dark to black in color, fine grained, and fossiliferous. Most Seneca-type chert was removed by glaciers and deposited as nodules in streambeds south of the Onondaga Escarpment, including Paines Creek, below the Corey site. Moorehouse, the second type of Onondaga chert, is medium gray in color and fine grained. It is found in stratified layers of up to eight meters deep in central New York to up to sixteen meters deep near Buffalo. Clarence chert is characterized by being dark blue and black as well as fine grained, and it is found in stratified layers of five meters or so in central New York to fourteen meters near Buffalo. Nedrow is a very dark to grayish black chert with high shale content; Nedrow is generally courser in texture, likely owing to the increased erosion of the uplifting landforms to the east. The last of the Onondaga cherts is Edgecliff, which is light to medium gray in color, medium grained, and also fossiliferous. Edgecliff can be found in stratified layers of five to ten meters deep, dominated by corals (see chapter 5). In addition to the Onondaga cherts, there are several samples of Mohawk Valley cherts, which are characterized by a very dark blue to black color with lighter-blue to light-colored mottling. Other lithic artifacts are made of slate, shale, limestone, sandstone, and mudstone. Unidenti- fied raw materials include a dark-brown chert. Chipped Lithic Artifacts | 95 One issue is whether there was gendered use of lithic raw materials, based on availability and relative mobility of men and women living at the site. There has been a growing realization among archaeologists that both women and men were active in the collection of raw materials and the manufacture of lithic tools (Gero and Conkey 1991). In the case of the Corey materials, the working hypothesis was that lower-quality local materials such as streambed nodules (Seneca chert) would have been primarily used by...


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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- New York (State) -- Cayuga County -- Antiquities.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- New York (State) -- Cayuga County.
  • Cayuga Indians -- Religion.
  • Cayuga Indians -- History.
  • Cayuga Indians -- Antiquities.
  • Cayuga County (N.Y.) -- Antiquities.
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