restricted access Chapter 12. Use-wear Analysis of the Lange/Ferguson Chipped Stone Artifacts
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201 My formative statement of Clovis chipped stone artifact wear traces from the Colby site (Kay 1996) largely holds true today. It is, with one notable exception , a general guide to the analysis of a flake excavated in the Lange/Ferguson mammoth bonebed and three Clovis points slightly more than 16 m to the south. I did not account for or appreciate the progression of wear traces from abrasive to additive forms, however, when I did the analysis in the early 1990s. In hindsight, I should have recognized what I actually illustrated: the filled-in striations and other microscopic evidence of soluble inorganic residues that literally flow as a viscous liquid or gel and harden coincident with tool use. These residues bond to the surface and edges of stone tools of diverse materials and preserve well under a variety of geochemical conditions and for tens of thousands of years. To be sure, I did make this connection about the time I received page proofs of the 1996 article and prior to its publication, but too late for wholesale revisions. I have since referred to these soluble inorganic residues as “microplating” (Kay 1998; see also Banks 2009). Inspection of the Lange/Ferguson artifacts began with the three points in January 1992 and concluded in February 1995 with the flake. Microscopy and analytical procedures were identical to those employed in the Colby site assessments described elsewhere (Kay 1996). The analysis is grounded in experimental replications of similar tool forms used to kill and butcher large game, including African elephants, and in taphonomic assessments of natural depositional processes. The latter can be confused with microscopic wear traces. Briefly put, the Lange/Ferguson artifacts were examined on one or both surfaces and all edges with a binocular differential interference microscope with Nomarski optics and polarized light, at magnifications of 100x, 200x, and 400x. Wear trace locations were noted on scaled artifact photographs or line drawings ; photomicrograph orientation was also inscribed on these photographs or line drawings. This procedure allowed for a realistic evaluation of tool use kinematics (placement and directional motion of tool strokes) and identification of likely contact materials, or substances directly encountered in tool use. In addition, measures of artifact size, mass, and edge angles were routinely taken. For purposes of highlighting flake scar patterns only, the artifacts were coated (or “smoked”) with a thin film of anhydrous ammonium chloride that was easily removed by simple immersion in water. The resultant imagery was digitized and manipulated by a commercial graphics program , Adobe Photoshop, and metrical data were inputted into a computerized database for statistical evaluations that need not concern us here. This analysis employs a production chain approach (fig. 138) to technology and engineering design (Bleed 1986, 2001). If it is viewed as a domestic craft industry in which the toolmakers are the tool users (Braun 1983), one Use-wear Analysis of the Lange/Ferguson Chipped Stone Artifacts chapter twelve Marvin Kay Figure 138. Subtractive technology model (adapted from Kay 1984 and Bleed 1986). 202 Chapter Twelve would expect to chart changes in tool design that improve performance, reduce maintenance costs, or, alternatively, address disparities in tool stone availability. The Artifacts Descriptions of the four artifacts (figs. 139 and 140) draw upon Hannus (1989:400–402) plus information about the archaeological contexts of the finds that was provided more recently via personal communication. The tertiary reduction flake (L-80–1) is of Scenic chalcedony , a lithic source in the South Dakota Badlands relatively near the Lange/Ferguson site. Hannus (personal communication 2010) relates that this artifact “was located at the proximal end of the femur—in situ in the bonebed. The most likely situation for the flake was that a tool (chopper) was being utilized on the joint capsule of the hip of the mammoth and this flake detached from the chopper during use and embedded in the joint capsule of the animal.” As discussed later, the use-wear assessment documents use of the flake in carcass butchery but as a singular tool, not as part of a larger chopper. The flake edge angles are acute and fairly uniform at 45° and 50°, and well suited to cutting use. The three Clovis points are all fine-grained chert of unknown source or sources, and all are well suited to a microscopic evaluation. The dark reddish-brown, heavily reworked projectile point (L-81–1; fig. 140b) was found in situ and would have been somewhat more than 16 m south of the bonebed...


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