Investigating the qualities of raw lithic material and the selection pressures of lithic materials from the gunflint formation, in Ontario Canada
Master of Environmental Studies
DisciplineEnvironmental Studies : Northern Environments & Cultures
Lithic raw material
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The study of stone tools in archaeology has advanced considerably in recent years, from the early ideas of what makes a stone anthropogenically modified to using advanced spectroscopic techniques to help determine ancient trade networks and group relationships. However, there is a gap in our understanding of how the raw material behaves during manufacture and the attributes that make it favorable for selection at a quarry. There are many physical characteristics and various properties, including cultural aspects that need to be examined before researchers can further develop our understanding in these areas. Using the material quarried from the Gunflint Formation in Northwestern Ontario, Canada as a case study, the presented research aims to address some of these gaps in our understanding. In order to achieve this goal, new applications for testing were developed and statistical analysis was employed to determine the potential usefulness of each test. In addition, this study placed the data collected into a framework to answer a specific question related to the archaeological sites; what are the desirable traits in the Crane Site bifaces and are they manufactured from material sourced from one of the local quarry sites? Moreover, an effort was made to source by traditional and chemical techniques, these artifacts to specific outcrops within a single geologic formation. Overall, there was some success achieved at least in terms of using these methods as a sorting method for organizing large samples, building a local lithology of the raw material and, sourcing materials to specific outcrop locations.