Faculty Publications

Title

The quantification problem in stone-tool assemblages

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American Antiquity

Volume

65

Issue

4

First Page

725

Last Page

738

Abstract

How many tools does a lithic assemblage contain? The question is not as banal as it may seem, because tools were used as wholes but many are found broken. Pottery and faunal analysis have grappled with the problems of counting original wholes from mixed sets of whole and broken objects; lithic analysts lag behind. Assemblage size can change greatly depending on whether we count or ignore tool fragments. To systematize treatment of broken tools, I apply Orton's pottery quantification method to several lithic assemblages and compare it to Portnoy's MNT and raw counts. Methods do not agree in all cases, demonstrating that how we count affects our results. Until we know more, both methods should be used to quantify lithic assemblages. Copyright © 2000 by the Society for American Archaeology.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2000

DOI of published version

10.2307/2694424

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