Saturday, October 20, 2007
ISHI LITHICS AND GLASS DEBITAGE
RESEARCH PROPOSAL: ISHI LITHICS AND GLASS DEBITAGE
ANALYSIS; A WINDOW TO PROTOTLITHIC UNDERSTANDING,
A LITHIC TAXONOMY.
RAY H. HARWOOD
A. Statement of the Problem There has been a wealth of books and articles related to Ishi and his projectile point knapping. Ishi’s biface production trajectory and physical approach is used throughout experimental archaeology and “folk-knapping’ today (Shackley 2001) and can be traced directlyback to Ishi via Crabtree. However, little has been done thus far on an extensive debitage study, especially a systematic replication of his lithic works relating to the studies of said debitage. According to Shackley(2001) though the objects Ishi made are nearly deified in some circles, an examination of his lithic technology, with current advances, has simply not occurred, possibly as a result of the rather romantic effect of this historical figure.
Succinctly stated; the problem to be researched is the application of modern lithic
debitage analysis to the existing Ishi glass and lithic refuse. Debitage, defined as "residual lithic material resulting from tool manufacture. Useful to determine techniques, and for showing technological traits" (Crabtree 1972:58). The anomaly of glass and lithic reduction in the proto-historic era (protolithics), also known as contact or historic period lithic analysis, will be used to extract important data for this little known, and seldom studied, subfield of lithic technology. I use the term “lithic anomaly” here to designate an artifact class possessing a unique set of definable salient attributes such as might indicate distinct manufacturing and/or techno-functional behavior.It is the focus of this proposed research endeavor to increase the flaked glass and protolithic database with use of modern micro-lithics study methods for debitage classification and subsequent anayasis and and replicative verification through extensive flintknapping experimentation . Replicative studies will focus on the attribute and statistical analysis of the debitage created while maintaining close attention to precise, systematic and historically accurate replication. The lithic debitage will be processed into a precise taxonomy. Taxonomy (from Greek taxis meaning arrangement or division and nomos meaning law) is the science of classification according to a pre-determined system, with the resulting catalog used to provide a conceptual framework for discussion, analysis, or information retrieval. In theory, the development of a good taxonomy takes into account the importance of separating elements of a group (taxon) into subgroups (taxa) that are mutually exclusive, unambiguous, and taken together, include all possibilities. In practice, a good taxonomy should be simple, easy to remember, and easy to use. Flintknapping experimentation is one means of expanding the theoretical scope and application of lithic debitage studies. Flintknapping experiments, replicative systems analysis, have shown, when properly applied, to be a most reliable method, indicating the prehistoric agents responsible for the redundant and unambiguous patterns that occur in the prehistoric flaked stone record (Callahan 1979; Crabtree 1972, 1973; Flenniken 1980; Muto 1971). These identified attribute patterns have been found to vary according to the techniques of production and the stages of reduction, thus exposing clues to technique and methodology (Breschini and Haversat 1991). There is even an indication that the pressure technique used on the long glass points, Ishi made at the museum, was somewhat different than on the smaller obsidian points (Harwood 2001; Shackley 2001). According to Shackley (2001)
“there is no evidence on the performs at the Hearst Museum or in the literature
That Ishi abraded the margins during reduction, even when using obsidian and glass, but to produce the oblique parallel effect he was so proficientat doing, he must have prepared the platforms.” These theories can be tested through micro analysis of the debitage.
In spite of some support for this analytical technique (Patterson 1983), a number of potential problems with size class analysis, as well as, debitage replication have been recognized. These include: 1) different techniques to manufacture similar items; 2) the mixing of waste flakes from different flaking techniques; 3) failure of flintknapping to accurate replicate a collection under study; 4) variations in debitage due to raw material differences; and 5) the collection both prehistorically and historically of certain debitage specimens (Stahle and Dunn 1983:94).
B. Nature and Design of the Project
Described herein are the details of what the project intends to do and where the project will be carried out. The bulk of the research will be carried out at my home and will involve the systematic replication of 10 sets of 10 projectile points each and the subsequent debitage classified and categorized. Comparisons will be made with the actual degitage of Ishi and theories regarding the original; lithic reduction sequences speculated’
The raw materials and technical attributes in the Ishi debitage collection would be subjected to classification and close attribute studies. Various methods of flintknapping replication would correspond to ascertain the type and origin of the various debitage manifestations. From here statistical inferences and theories will be considered, correlations made and the final data used to infer viable reduction and notching scenarios.
The project would be carried out in several phases:
1. A close review and study of the existing publications relative to this study.
2. Initial inspection at the museum and the Ishi artifacts on display.
3. Interviewing key personnel in the lithic and Ishi research community.
4. A close inspection and study of the Ishi debitage, and possibly his tools and stone artifacts.
5. Extensive flintknapping replicate studies and creation of the Ishi lithics taxonomy reference collection; points, performs and debitage .
6. A follow up inspection of all debitage, both Ishi’s and that from the replication
Phase of the study.
7. Final conclusions, peer considerations, and outcome of research project published. Preliminary reports on the finding of this research project will be submitted to:
SCA Newsletter and SCA meetings paper presentation (2008), Journal of Lithic Technology,
This section should describe the procedures and techniques for carrying out the project and should include at least the following points:
the nature of the data/information to be collected, studies will focus on the attribute and statistical analysis of the Ishi debitage to identify lithic reduction sytems used by Ishi.
1) the methods for collecting the data: Separate the debitage into categories based on raw material, then subclassify by attribute. Replicate material with flintknpping experimentation and create taxonomy.
2) the sources of information such as library materials and field notes (with descriptions of field methods where appropriate) will be provided.
D. Resources and Clearances
1) sources of funding (personal funds, and possible future grants),
2) facilities available (such as computer use and lab/office space in the field and at the home institution), CSUB Archaeology lab for analysis of replicated lithic debitage and corresponding projectile point reduction sequence studies, taxonomy and close analysis and classification of same. UCB Pheabe Hearst Museum for study of historic Ishi lithics. Personal residence for systematic flintknapping replication of 100 test units (“Ishi Points”) and debitage retrieval.
3) equipment available, if applicable; approximate replica of Ishi’s knapping kit will be prepared by student. Diagnostic and analysis tools for magnification and other micro-lithic evaluation are house at CSUB (for replicated protolithics) and UCB (for Ishi’s historical protolithics).
4) assistance available (e.g., contacts in the field or consultants to the project); Several contacts have been established at both the PhD level and that of experts in the field of “folk knapping”, also primitive archery experts have been consulted for their perspective of technological form and attributes of this projectile point style.
5) preparedness to conduct the research (e.g., background course work, prior related research experience, personal knowledge of the study site in terms of language and culture); The research student has familiarized himself with the back ground literature on both Ishi and the field of lithic studies. The research student has been flintknapping, as an amateur, off and on for 30 years and has learned to replicate all of the Ishi styles of projectile point. The research student has familiarized himself with castings of Ishi styles of projectile point procured from “Lithic Casting Lab”.
6) documents obtained or to be obtained (including Human Subjects and Informed Consent Forms, clearances from contact persons, letters of introduction from research director and from host institution, passport/visas, etc.). Letters of personal introduction provided were those used for my Graduate school application package.
E. Time Table
Specify the projected start up date, the period of fieldwork (broken down by time needed to set up and initiate the project, the time engaged in data collection, and the time required for data analysis and write up of the results), and a projected date of completion for the entire project. The initial inspection of the Ishi’s protolithic debiatge at USB Pheabe Hearst Museum will be the starting point. The replication, categorization and report completed and written by SCA meeting of 2008 in Burbank, California.
In order to understand these stone and glass artifacts, and the person whom made and used them, archaeologists must understand the processes involved in the acquisition of the raw material, production strategies and stages of lithic reduction, and the function, and final disposition of these lithic artifacts. In the past years, experimental studies involving the manufacturing and use of stone tools have been integrated with studies of refitted or conjoined lithic artifacts and microwear analysis. The result is a much more dynamic view of the variability in assemblages of lithic artifacts. Continuing these research techniques into the Ishi lithics and subsequent debitage is a logical progression. COMMENT: It can be expected that a satisfactory fulfillment of items A through D, as well as G, will be directly applicable toward completing the final write up of the project.
G Literature Cited
This listing might contain references that have not been located or looked at yet but will likely be of use before the project is completed.
Adams, Rex K. 1980. Debitage Analysis: Lithic Technology and Interpretations of an Archaic Base Camp Near Moquino, New Mexico. Unpublished Master's Thesis, Department of Anthropology, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico
Ahler, S. A
1989 Mass analysis of flaking debris: studying the forest rather than the tree. Alternative approaches to lithic analysis, edited by D.O. Henry and G.H. Odell. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association Number 1:85-118.
Ainsworth, Peter W. 1987 Comments on Austin's "Discovery" of Biface Notching Flakes. Lithic Technology 16(2-3):56-58.
Burrill, R. 1990. Ishi, America’s Last Stone Age Indian. The Anthro Company. Sacramento.
Burrill, Richard. 2001 Ishi Rediscovered. The AnthroCompany.
Burrill, Richard. 2004 Ishi in His Second World.
Callahan, E. 1979 The Basics of Biface Knapping In The Eastern Fluted Point Tradition. A Manual for Flintknappers And Lithic Analysts. Archaeology of Eastern North America 7: 1-180. ed. Brennan, New York.
Callahan, E. 1999 Ishi Sticks, Iceman Picks and Good For Nothing Things. Bulletin of Primitive Technology 18: 60-68, Rexburg.
Cotterell, Brian, and Johan Kamminga
1987 The Formation of Flakes. American Antiquity 52:675–708.
Cotterell, B. and J. Kamminga
1987 The formation of flakes. American Antiquity 52(4):675-708.
Cowgill, G. L.
1990 Artifact classification and archaeological purpose. Mathematics and Information Science in Archaeology: a Flexible Framework, ed. by A. Voorrips. Holos Verlag, Bonn:61-78
Crabtree, D. 1972 An Introduction to Flintworking. Occasional Papers, Idaho University Museum, Pocatello.
Dibble, H. L. and J. C. Whittaker
1981 New experimental evidence on the relation between percussion flaking and flake variation. Journal of Archaeological Science 8:283-296.
Flenniken, J.J. 1980. Replicative Systems Analysis: A Model applied to the Vein Quartz Artifacts from the Hoko River Site. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Washington State University.
Flenniken, J.J. (1984) The past, present, and future of flintknapping: an anthropological perspective. Annual Review of Anthropology, 13:187-203.
J. Jeffrey Flenniken, (1986) Anan W. RaymondMorphological Projectile Point Typology: Replication Experimentation and Technological Analysis
American Antiquity, Vol. 51, No. 3 (Jul., 1986), pp. 603-614
Flenniken, J.J. and P.J. Wilke (1989) Typology, technology, and chronology of Great Basin dart points. American Anthropologist, 91(1):149-158.
Harwood, Ray 2001 Points of Light, Dreams of Glass : An Introduction into Vitrum Technology. Bulletin of Primitive Technology (No. 21).Pp. 24-36 .ed. Wescott, Idaho.
Hayden, B., N. Franco, and J. Spafford
1996 Evaluating lithic strategies and design criteria. Stone tools: theoretical insights into human prehistory, edited by G.H. Odell. Plenum Press, NY:9-50.
Healan, D. M.
1995 Identifying lithic reduction loci with size-traded macrodebitage: a multivariate approach. American Antiquity 60(4):689-699.
Hoffman, C. M.
1985 Projectile point maintenance and typology: assessment with factor analysis and canonical correlation. For concordance in archaeological analysis, edited by C. Carr. Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, IL:566-612.
Janes, R.R. (1989) A comment on microdebitage analyses and cultural site-formation processes among tipi dwellers. American Antiquity, 54(4):851-855
Kelly, R. L.
1988 The three sides of a biface. American Antiquity 53(4):717-734.
Kroeber, Theodora. Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America. Berkeley: University California Press, 1963.
Magne, M. P.
1989 Lithic reduction stages and assemblage formation processes. Experiments in lithic technology, edited by D.S. Amick and R.P. Mauldin. BAR International Series 528, Oxford:15-31.
Mauldin, R. P. and D. S. Amick
1989 Investigating patterning in debitage from experimental bifacial core reduction. Experiments in lithic technology, edited by D.S. Amick and R.P. Mauldin. BAR International Series 528, Oxford:67-88.
Muto, Guy R. 1971. A Technological Analysis of the Early Stages in the Manufacture of Chipped Stone Implements. M.A. thesis, Department of Anthropology, Idaho State University.
Prentiss, W. C. and E. J. Romanski
1989 Experimental evaluation of Sullivan and Rozen's debitage typology. Experiments in lithic technology, edited by D.S. Amick and R.P. Mauldin. BAR International Series 528, Oxford:89-99.
Nelson, Nels C.
1916 Flintworking by Ishi. In William Henry Homes Anniversary Volume, edited by Frederick Webb Hodge, pp. 397–402. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.
Newman, J. R.
1994 The Effects of distance on lithic material reduction technology. Journal of field archaeology 21(4):491.
Patterson, L. W., and Sollberger. 1978. Replication and Classification of Small Size Lithic Debitage. Plains Anthropologist 23(80):103-112.
Patterson, L.W. 1983. The Importance of Flake Size Distribution. Contract Abstracts and CRM Archeology 3:70-72.
Patterson, L.W. (1990). Characteristics of bifacial-reduction flake-size distribution. American Antiquity, 55(3):550-558.
Rondeau, Michael F. 1982a. Debitage Analysis: A Basis for Site Characterization. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for California Archeology, Sacramento.
Shackley, Steven M. 1996 Ishi Was Not Necessarily the Last Full-Blooded Yahi: Berkley Archaeology. The Archaeology Research Newsletter. Spring 1996 Volume 3, Number 2
Shackley, Steven M. 2000 The Stone Technology of Ishi and the Yana of North Central California: Inferences for Hunter-Gatherer Cultural Identity in Historic California. American
Shackley, Steven M. 2001 The Stone Tool Technology of Ishi and the Yana of North Central California: Inferences for Hunter-Gather Cultural Identity in Historic California. American Anthropologist 102 (4) : 693-712.
Spaulding, A. C.
1953 Statistical techniques for the discovery of artifact types. American Antiquity 18(4):305-313Sullivan, A.P., III and K.C. Rozen (1985) Debitage analysis and archaeological interpretation. American Antiquity, 50(4):755-779.
Stahle, D.W., and J.E. Dunn. 1983. An Analysis and Application of the Size Distribution of Waste Flakes from the Manufacture of Bifacial Stone Tools. World Archeology 14(1):84-97.
Taylor, Jeb (2005) Ishi: Not Wintu. Unpublished manuscript obtained from author.
Titmus, G. L. 1985 Some Aspects of Stone Tool Notching. In Stone Tool Analysis: Essays in Honor of Don E. Crabtree, edited by M. Plew, J. Woods
Tomka, S. A.
1989 Differentiating lithic reduction techniques: an experimental approach. Experiments in lithic technology, edited by D.S. Amick and R.P. Mauldin. BAR International Series 528, Oxford:137-161.
Whittaker, John C. (1994). Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools, Chapters 5, 7, 8. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Whittaker, John C. Michael Stafford1999. Replicas, Fakes, and Art: Twentieth Century Stone Age and Its Effects on Archaeology.
American Antiquity, Vol. 64, No. 2 (Apr., 1999), pp. 203-214