Author Topic: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms  (Read 16229 times)

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Offline JackCrafty

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Flintknapping Glossary of Terms
« on: April 20, 2013, 04:22:43 pm »


This thread is LONG overdue and I apologize.  I remember when one of you guys asked me about this a long time ago and I said, "OK, Give me a few days".   ::)  Well, I haven't finished all the books I'm reading on the subject but if I don't do this now who knows when I'll post it.  So here goes.   ;D

I will update this thread with more terms and more lengthy definitions as time allows.

The terms will be defined from the perspective of a flintknapper.  I will incorporate terminology and definitions used by archaeologists, anthropologists, and artifact collectors.  These definitions will hopefully give the reader a well rounded understanding of terms used in flintknapping books, archaeological texts, and conversations among flintknappers and artifact collectors.


Edits:

- I use the term "core" as a generic term.  Basically, if you are fracturing it and/or removing flakes from it, it's called a core.

- Simplicity is my main goal when defining these terms.

- In the interest of time, I will not be adding photos or drawings to help explain the definitions.  That stinks, I know.  :P

- I found it necessary to divide cores into two types: thin and thick.  Usually, flintknapping texts use the term biface (or objective piece) to describe a core that is going to become a stone tool.  Since stone tools can be made from bifaces, unifaces, spalls, fragments, blade-like cores, flakes, microblades, etc., I have used the term "thin core" to include all these thin forms.  Thick cores are basically fat and include conical cores, raw nodules, pebbles, cobbles, etc.

- Also, please keep in mind that I have purposefully left out information that seems like it should be included.  I did this to make the definitions broader.

- Terms like lanceolate, ovate, acuminate, and so on, are used in archeological texts and flintknapping literature to describe artifact shapes.  Instead of listing all the terms here, I will refer you to the botanists who have already invented this wheel.  Look up "leaf morphology" and you will see all the shape names you need.  Having said that, I'm working on a comprehensive list of stone tool shapes (as of May 2015) and also a list of characteristics that I will use in my future definitions.

- It would take me too long to include all the various chert types, and their local names, found around the country, so I have purposefully left these out.  I will work on a list of cherts in another thread.  One of the problems I've encountered with chert names (as of May 2015) is that there is usually a local name and an archeological name for the same stone and it's very difficult to verify they are the same material.

- This thread used to contain several mesages but I have removed them in the interest of keeping things simple.  I hope that's OK with you guys.  Too late now... I know.  >:D

« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 04:52:24 pm by JackCrafty »
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Offline JackCrafty

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Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms - Work in Progress
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 08:47:43 am »
A


Abo Flintknapping - Also: Aboriginal Material Flintknapping.  An interpretation of flintknapping performed with materials found in nature and without the aid of metals.

Abrader - Also: Abrading Stone, Grindstone, Grinding Stone.  An abrasive object that is rubbed against the surface or edge of a core to create a dull, rounded, and/or polished area.

Abraded Arris - An arris that has been rubbed by an abrader to reduce its height, sharpness, or irregular contours.

Abraded Edge - An edge that is dulled, rounded, and/or polished by rubbing an abrader along the edge in a longitudinal direction.  If the abrader is rubbed across the edge, in a lateral direction, it is called a sheared edge.  Edges can be both abraded and sheared.

Abraded Platform - A platform created, or enhanced, by rubbing an abrader along the edge in a longitudinal direction.  If the abrader is rubbed across the edge, in a lateral direction, it is called a sheared platform.  Platforms can be both abraded and sheared.

Abraded Surface - The surface of a stone tool that has been made flatter, smoother, or polished by the action of an abrader.  Sometimes performed to eliminate knapping errors such as step fractures.  May also be a diagnostic feature on some stone tools.

Abrasion - Also: Abrading, Grinding.  The wear caused by the act of using an abrader.  In geology: the mechanical scraping of a rock surface by friction between rocks and moving particles during their transport by wind, glacier, waves, gravity, running water or erosion.

Absolute Age - The amount of time elapsed according to a specific time reference, such as before present (BP), since an object was made or used.

Absolute Dating - Age according to a specific time reference, such as before present (BP), based on measurable physical qualities or historical record.

Aceramic - An ancient society that did not make, posses, or use, pottery.

Accidental Flaking - Flaking that has yielded an undesired result that is usually not beneficial.  Also, the flake scar may or may not show evidence that the flake was removed accidentally or in an unintended manner.  Artifacts that contain accidental flaking may represent either lack or skill and/or intentional lack of repair flaking.

Activity - The use or purpose of a stone tool.

Activity Analysis - Also: Function Analysis.  The investigation into the function and purpose of a stone tool.  Clues are gained from use-wear analysis, experimental archaeology, placement within a stone tool assemblage, residue analysis on the tool itself, and from associated faunal remains that show evidence of stone tool marks.  This study is important to understanding the material culture of the people who used the tool.

Activity Area - A small area containing artifacts, within a single level or strata on a single site, indicating that a specific human activity took place.  This is the smallest type of artifact grouping.

Acute - Severe, short angle(s) coming to a sharp point.

Adze - A cutting or chopping stone tool, similar to an axe, in which the stone blade is set at right angles to the handle.  The stone blade is also usually beveled on the working end.

Agate - A microcrystalline variety of silica.  It is formed when minerals, in the presence of water, seep into and then crystalize within the voids of buried material.  Although chemically the same, the crystal structure of agate is different from flint or quartz, for example.

Agatized Coral - Over time, water and minerals fill the voids in buried coral but do not completely replace all the material.  Crystals form, from the minerals, and eventually the voids becomes a solid mass of cryptocrystalline rock that looks similar to the original coral.

Agatized Wood - Over time, water and minerals fill the voids in buried wood but do not completely replace all the material.  Crystals form, from the minerals, and eventually the voids becomes a solid mass of cryptocrystalline rock that looks similar to the original wood.

Aggregate - An assemblage of debitage.  This can also mean inert components (filler or temper) mixed into clay or ceramic.

Aggressive Pressure - Applying excessive pressure to a core in a quick, loosely controlled manner to vigorously detach a flake or a series of flakes in a relatively short time.  This also applies to a slow building of pressure that is followed by a very quick buildup of excessive pressure, or a sudden change of the axis of applied force, to detach a flake.

Alluvial Deposit - Also Alluvium.  Loose material, such as soil and sediments, deposited or cemented into a solid mass that becomes rock at temperatures less than required for the melting of the rock.

Alternate Flaking Technique - Also: Alternate Retouch, Zig-Zag Flaking.  Sequential flaking that uses the previous negative bulb of force as a platform for the next flake removal.  Flipping the core over after each flake removal is usually required.  Not to be confused with alternate beveling, which is sometimes, confusingly, called alternate flaking.

Alternate Beveling - Steep flaking on opposite sides of opposing edges.

Aluminum Bopper - A billet made from solid aluminum.  Softer and lighter than copper but heavier and longer lasting than antler.

Amentum - A strap used to aid in throwing a javelin, harpoon, or spear.

Amerindian - Short for American Indian.

Amorphous - Also: Amorphous Solid.  Synonymous with glass in older texts.  Technically, amorphous means a disorderly internal structure.  Amorphous solids are brittle and will fracture like glass.

Amputated - Also: Truncated.  Made shorter by fracturing off one or both ends of a core or blade.  May or may not be intentional.

Angle of Applied Force - Also: Angle of Force, Angle of Applied Load, Angle of Blow, Impact Angle, Strike Angle, Pressure Angle, Percussion Angle.  The angle at which force is being applied, by a lithic reduction tool, in relation to the surface of the platform.  In other words, the angle formed between the axis of applied force and the platform surface.  Since platforms are rarely perfectly flat, this angle may be difficult to determine with exact precision.  To compound the difficulty, this angle may change slightly before the detachment of a flake, especially during pressure flaking.

Angular Nodule - A natural stone with a blocky or multifaceted appearance.

Anterior - Also: Distal.  One a flake: the end opposite the end containing the bulb of force.  On a stone tool: the stabbing end.

Anthropogenic - Created by human hands.

Antler - A branching bony appendage on the head of males of most deer species.  May also be present on females of some species.  Because of its hardness and toughness, antler is often used for lithic reduction tools (instruments).

Antler Sleeve - A section of antler that is hollowed on one end to hold a stone axe head.  Usually, the sleeve is securely attached to a handle.

Anvil - Also: Counterstriker, Static Hammer.  An object of stone, bone, antler, or ivory, on which cores are placed to be broken, split, or fractured.  Anvils are either formed into a specific shape or carefully chosen for their shape and are stationary (placed on the ground, for example).

Anvil Reduction Strategy - Also: Anvil Technique.  A percussion technique that involves placing the core on an anvil and then striking the core with a percussor to produce flakes with the fractures originating from a natural or prepared platform.  The process can also be reversed, with the anvil used to detach flakes, if the core is struck with a soft percussor while the platform is in contact with the anvil.  Normally performed on thick cores, this technique can also be used on thin cores or flakes.  This technique is generally a more refined version of a block reduction strategy.

Applied Force - Also: Applied Load, Applied Tension Stress, Applied Shear Stress, Energy.  The force intended or required to cause the fracturing of a core.

Applied Heat Alteration - Also: Cooking, Heat Treating, Thermal Alteration, Thermal Treatment.  The intentional application of heat to a stone to make it more easily knapped or fractured.  The range of temperatures is usually between 300°F to 600°F.  Various stones respond to various temperatures.  In ancient times, the stone was buried under a layer of dirt, ash, and/or sand with a fire built on top to provide the heat in a relatively slow heating and cooling cycle.  The stone is worked after it has cooled down to room temperature.  Today, the stone is often heated in ovens or kilns.

Arch Blade - Also: Crescent, Crescent Knife.  A flintknapped stone tool that looks like a crescent or half-moon.  May be single or double edged.  Not to be confused with a curved blade or bending flake.

Arch of Force - An arch-shaped crack at the beginning of a conchoidal fracture that opens at the juncture of the platform and the core.  This crack is the initial stage of a conchoidal fracture and is caused by tension failure.  An arch of force is what is usually seen during lithic reduction rather than a full cone of force or Hertzian cone.

Arched Flake - Also: Meniscus.  A flake, with a diffuse bulb of force, that is convex on one side and concave on the other when viewed from the end.  Not to be confused with an arch blade, bending flake, or curved flake.

Archaeological Culture - A distinct group of artifacts and structures, along with the technology that created them, that may or may not be linked to a specific group of people.

Archaeological Record - The body of physical evidence about human activity in the past.  It consists of material culture(s) including artifacts, built structures, human affects on the environment, refuse, stratigraphy, mortuary practices, plant remains, and animal remains.

Archaeological Method - Ideally, a scientific process that includes the following steps: (1) A clear objective is agreed upon, (2) Potential sites are surveyed, (3) Excavation takes place, if necessary, (4) Specimens, artifacts, and data are collected, studied, evaluated, and stored, (5) A summary statement is written that includes whether or not the original objective was reached, and, finally, (6) All procedures, data, photographs, drawings, and written observations are published for review.

Archaic - Also: Archaic Stage, Meso-Indian Period.  In the Americas, this was the second period of human occupation from around 8000 to 2000 BC with its ending roughly defined by the adoption of sedentary farming.

Arris - Also: Ridge, Scar Ridge, Crest.  The raised area on the surface of a core that exists between flake scars.

Arrowhead - Also: Bird point.  Specifically, a flintknapped stone tool that is hafted to the tip of an arrow that is fired from a bow.  Unfortunately, the term has also been used to identify all manner of stone tools with a pointed end, regardless of their use.  True arrowheads are sometimes called bird points either because they have been misunderstood as being used to kill birds or to distinguish these points from other stone tools.

Artifact - Also: Lithic Artifact, Relic.  In the Americas, a flintknapped object made by an aboriginal inhabitant before the arrival, or influence, of Europeans starting from the year 1492.

Artifact Processing - Also: Curation Guidelines.  The steps taken to ensure that an artifact is preserved for future study.  It includes, but is not limited to, cleaning, labeling, transporting, storing, documenting the artifact’s morphology, establishing ownership, and recording the exact location where it was found.

Artificial Patina - A chemical treatment that is applied to a flintknapped object with the intent of making the object look older than it really is.

Attribute - A distinct characteristic of an artifact that cannot be broken down or subdivided.

Assemblage - A number of contemporary stone tools and other artifacts, within an activity area, component, or phase.

Atlatl - Also: Spear Thrower.  A lever arm that is used to aid in throwing a spear, harpoon, or atlatl dart.

Atlatl Dart - A specially made spear used in combination with an atlatl.  Resembles a large arrow.

Authentication - Also: Certification.  A written assurance that a stone artifact is real and not a reproduction or a forgery.  Authentication is often used when there is no provenance for an artifact and the owner wishes to know its value.  Methods used in authentication include comparing the attributes of the artifact to what is known about artifacts of that origin, checking to see if modern techniques and/or materials were used to manufacture the artifact, carbon dating of the artifact or associated organic matter, and chemical analysis of the artifact.  The value of the authentication varies with the skill and resources of the authenticator.

Axis of Applied Force - Also: Axis of Force, Line of Force, Strike Path, Strike Direction.  The direction of the force applied to the core with the intent of causing a fracture.  This axis changes, in relation to the viewer, depending on how the core is positioned.


B


BC - Years before Christ or before the beginning of the Christian calendar.  The lower case “bc” represents uncalibrated radiocarbon years.  There is no year 0: 1 BC is followed by 1 AD.

BCE - Years before the common era or before the Christian era.  In the Gregorian
Calendar, eras are designated BCE and CE, and correspond to the abbreviations BC and AD respectively.

BP - Used especially in radiocarbon dating.  The fixed reference date for BP has been established as 1950 AD.  So, for example, 9000 BP would mean 9000 years before 1950, or 7050 BC.  The lower case “bp” represents uncalibrated radiocarbon years.

Backed Blade - Any stone blade that has one dull side.  The dull side may be man-made (steep retouch or abrading) or natural (cortex).

Bannerstone - A ground stone artifact that is symmetrical, often wing nut shaped, and drilled in the center.  The drilled hole may or may not pass all the way through the artifact.  There is considerable debate as to their use but some are believed to be atlatl weights.

Barb - A sharp, acute, backward facing projection.  If the projectile point or knife has notches, the barbs occur above the notches.  If there are basal notches, or no notches at all, the barbs occur at the corners of the base.  If the point has a stem, the notches occur above the stem.

Barbed and Tanged Arrowhead - Triangular flint arrowheads of the later Neolithic and Early Bronze Age in Europe.  They have a rectangular tang and deep basal notches.

Base - Also: Basal Area.  The portion of a stone tool opposite the stabbing end.  If the stone tool is pointed and sharp on both ends, it may not have a base.  If the object is a blank, preform, blade, flake, or thin core, the basal area is referred to as the proximal end.

Basal Grinding - The presence of a dulled area on the base caused by abrading.  Usually, the abrading or grinding is done to prevent cordage or sinews from severing when the stone tool is hafted.  Grinding may also be done to prevent the fingers from being cut while using the stone tool.

Basal Thinning - Flake scars that indicate the intentional thinning of the base.  These scars begin at the base and travel toward the tip.

Battered Platform - A platform constructed or enhanced by hammering and crushing the edge of a core.

Battering - Hammering or striking a core’s edge to create a crushed area.

Bending Flake - A flake that follows a pronounced, convex surface and terminates close to the opposite margin.  The term has also been used to mean long, narrow, flakes detached with a pressure flaker.  It could also mean a flake that has been detached by a bending initiation.

Bending Fracture - Also: Snap Fracture, Fold, Snap Break.  A transverse fracture caused by excessive bending stress, or "bowing", placed on a thin core from force applied to the edge.  The fracture starts at the area of applied force.

Bending Initiation - A type of flake initiation, sometimes guided by platform isolation, produced by cracks that open away from the point of applied force.  The resulting flakes usually have a pronounced lip, contracting lateral margins immediately below the striking platform, and a diffuse bulb of force.

Bending Stress - Force(s) applied to a core that may cause the core to bend, fold, or snap.

Beveled Edge - Also: Bevel, Steep Retouch, Lateral Bevel.  A type of edge created by removing short flakes from only one side of a thin core and causing a steep angle.  This is accomplished with pressure or percussion.

Beveled Platform - A type of platform created by removing short flakes from one side and in one direction.

Bi-convex - A two-sided core that is convex on both sides.

Bi-directional Core - A core with flakes removed in two different, usually opposite, directions.

Biface - Also Bifacial Core, Bifacial Foliate, Bifacial Blank.  A type of thin core that has flake scars on more than 60% of the surface of both sides.

Bifurcated Base - A base on a point that is divided into two parts by a large central depression, concavity, or notch.

Bilateral Symmetry - Symmetry between the two lateral edges or margins of a stone tool when viewed from the face.

Bilaterally Barbed - A projectile point or knife with barbs on both lateral edges or margins.  Stone points can also be unilaterally barbed.

Billet - Also: Baton, Bar Hammer, Cylinder Hammer, Soft Hammer.  A hand-held, cylindrical, nonmetallic, object or instrument that is used with direct percussion to strike a core to detach flakes or blades.

Binding - Also: Wrapping.  A fibrous material or cordage used to fasten a stone tool to the end of a handle or shaft.

Bioturbation - The physical rearrangement of soil by animals and organisms in the soil.  This effect is important to consider when trying to establish the original depth and location of stone artifacts.

Bipoint - A finished projectile point or knife that is pointed on both ends.

Birch Bark Tar - Also: Birch Tar.  A resin that is obtained from birch bark by using dry distillation (heating under airtight conditions).  It has been used widely, until recently, in Europe as a hot-melt adhesive since the late Paleolithic era.

Bird Point - A true arrowhead.  In other words, a stone tool that is hafted to the tip of an arrow that is fired from a bow.

Bit - A cylindrical or conical piece of hard material (antler, bone, or ivory) that is either inserted into a hole at the end of a handle or fastened to the side of a handle.  Used in pressure flaking or indirect percussion flaking.

Bitumen - Also: Asphalt, Asphaltum.  Naturally occurring petroleum tar.  Sometimes used as a hafting adhesive in ancient times.

Blade - Also: Blade Flake.  A flake with a length to width ratio of 2:1 or more.

Blade Edge Type - The type of margin on a stone tool.  The names are the same as in leaf morphology with the following additional types: serrated, abraded, beveled, and backed.

Blade Face - The surface of a blade.  A blade has two faces: one is called the ventral side and other the dorsal side.

Blade-like Core - A core that has a length to width ratio of 2:1 or more.

Bladelet - Also: Microblade.  A prismatic blade that is truncated on one or both ends and has a width of less than 1” (25mm) and a length less than 2” (50mm).  Most bladelets show the original bulb of force.

Blade Removal Reduction Strategy - Also: Blade Removal, Blade Production.  The removal of flakes from a core, that have a length to width ratio of 2:1 or more.  The core is discarded after the desired length of blades can no longer be removed from the core.

Blank - Also:  Trade Blank, Cache Blade.  A preform, biface, or workpiece that is either set aside or carried until the owner wishes to finish it or trade it for something else.  The act of creating a blank means that there is an intentional pause in the reduction sequence.  All edges are knapped and cortex is minimal or not present.

Blattspitze - Also: Blattspitzen.  A type of bifacial stone tool with points at one or both ends.  They are found in some late Middle and early Upper Paleolithic industries of central and eastern Europe.

Block - Also: Boulder.  A stationary, expedient, and unmodified stone on which cores are placed to be broken, split, or fractured.

Block Reduction Strategy - Also: Bi-polar Reduction Strategy, Bi-polar Reduction Technique, Block-on-Block Technique.  A direct percussion technique that involves placing the core on a block and then arbitrarily striking the core with a stone or hard percussor to produce flakes or to split the core.  Fractures can originate from the point of impact of the percussor, the block, or both.  Normally performed on nodules, cobbles, or pebbles.  Probably the original and oldest known reduction strategy practiced by flintknappers.

Blunt - Also: Stunner.  A point with an intentionally rounded or reworked tip.  Some feel that the point may have been used in hunting as a stunning weapon.  However, many blunts show signs of being used as scrapers.

Bolas Stone - A stone weight that is part of a weapon called a bola or bolas.  Usually made by pecking and grinding, these weights can also be knapped.

Bold Flake Pattern - Also: Bold Flaking.  A series of flake scars that are deep, pronounced, or relatively large for the stone tool.

Bone - Being lightweight, yet strong and hard, bone is often used for lithic reduction tools (instruments).  In some texts, bone, along with antler, is referred to as osseous tissue.
 
Bone Structure - The natural shape of bones from various animals.  Bone structure is important to consider when analyzing artifacts made from bone.  For example, sometimes a bone artifact will have features, like holes, channels, or surface depressions, that may look man-made but are natural.

Bopper - Also: Hard Hammer.  A metallic billet.

Brittle Fracture - There are two types of fractures in knappable materials caused by stress: tensile fracture and shear fracture.  In a tensile fracture, the material opens along a crack due to tensile failure.  In a shear fracture, the material slides and/or tears along a crack due to shear failure.  Both types of fracture or failure are present when a flake is detached.  The way the stresses combine and travel into the material determines the shape of the fracture plane(s) and the characteristics of the flakes and scars.

Bulb of Applied Force - Also: Bulb of Force.  A raised or convex area, near the platform remnant on a flake, that is the surface of a conchoidal-type crack caused by forces applied during flake removal from a brittle material.  Bulbs of force may be pronounced, moderate, or diffuse.

Bulb of Percussion - A bulb of force caused by percussion flaking.

Bulb of Pressure - A bulb of force caused by pressure flaking.

Bulbar Scar - Also: Reverse Bulb of Force.  The depression on the face of a core corresponding to the raised area of the removed flake’s bulb of force.

Bulbar Surface - Also: Ventral Surface.  The surface of an unmodified flake that contains the bulb of force.

Bulbos Base - A type of basal stem on a stone tool that is rounded and bulb-like.

Burin - Also Burin Tool.  A stone engraving tool that has an acute, durable, chisel-like area on one end.  It may be used as-is or may be hafted to a handle to form a composite tool.  Burins usually begin as unmodified blades, flakes, or fragments.  Burins can also be created from bifaces or unifaces.  The chisel portion is made by striking off two flakes perpendicular to the face of the tool.  This process produces characteristic scars (burin scars).

Burin Blade - Also: Burin Spall.  A proportionately thick flake (high thickness to width ratio) that is struck off from a burin when the chisel portion is being made.


C


Cache - A group of stone artifacts intentionally buried or stored, and subsequently found, together.

Calcite - A mineral that is found in limestone and other sedimentary rocks.  Calcite forms mineral coatings that cement rock grains together, like silica crystals in flint or chert, or it can fill fractures.

Cast - A resin (plastic) copy made of an artifact produced from a mold created from the original.

Centerline - The longitudinal axis of a thin core when looking at the edge.

Centripetal Reduction Strategy - The removal of flakes from a core using steep platform angles and a hard hammer to produce a non-cortical biface with the least number of flake removals possible.

Chalcedony - A cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite.

Channel Scar - Also: Flute, Flute Scar, Trough.  The scar of a channel flake or flute flake.

Chatter - When a percussor or pressure flaker makes contact with the platform more than once during flake removal.  In other words, the tool bounces on the platform.  Chatter can lead to hinge or step terminations and broken flakes.

Chert - A fine-grained, silica-rich, microcrystalline, cryptocrystalline, or microfibrous sedimentary rock that is used as a raw material for the manufacture of stone tools.  Where formed within chalk or marl it is usually of higher quality and called flint.

Chevron Flake Pattern - Also: Double Diagonal Flake Pattern.  A flake scar pattern where diagonal (oblique) scars meet in the middle and form a “V” on a stone tool.

Chip - An obsolete term meaning flake.

Chipped Stone Tool - An obsolete term meaning flintknapped or flaked stone tool.

Chopper - A stone tool with an irregular cutting edge formed through the removal of flakes from both sides of one edge of a relatively flat stone.

Cleaving - A type of brittle fracture that cracks or splits a crystal along planar weaknesses of the chemical bonds of its structure.  Since a cleavage plane is reflective, this is believed to be the reason that a heat treated material displays a shinier fractured surface than before it was heat treated.  Heat treating is assumed to cause a strengthening of the mechanical bonds between crystals which allows the crystals to be cleaved along the path of fracture instead of being separated along the mechanical bonds.

Clovis Culture - The material culture of the people who used Clovis points and associated stone tools.

Clovis Point - A very widely used stone tool in the Americas during the Pale-Indian period.  It is distinguished by the use of flutes to thin the basal area.

Clovis Technology - The lithic reduction tools and techniques used in the manufacture of Clovis points, blades, scrapers, and other associated stone tools in the Clovis complex.  Also includes the methods of using the stone tools after they are made.

Cluster - An assemblage, belonging to an archaeological culture, that regularly appear together in two or more sites within a phase.

Cobble - Also: Pebble.  A rounded, river-tumbled nodule of knappable material. 

Collateral Flake Pattern - Also: Collateral Flaking.  A series of flake scars that run at roughly 90° to the centerline, from each side, and meeting somewhere in the middle.

Collector - A private person who collects artifacts.  Most collectors spend many hours searching private lands and find artifacts through surface collecting, diving, and/or digging.

Complex - An assemblage, belonging to a material culture, that regularly appears together in two or more sites within a phase (or horizon).  Also, this can be a tool technology that originates from, and remains within, one social culture.

Component - A group of similar and contemporary activity areas.

Composite Tool - Generally, any two-part hand tool made up of a handle and a flaked or ground stone tool that is securely fastened to the end of the handle.  In lithic reduction:  A two-part instrument made up of a handle and a piece of hard material (bit) that is either inserted into a hole or slot at the end of the handle or fastened to the side.  The hard material makes contact with the core when flakes are detached.  This instrument can be used for either pressure flaking or percussion flaking.

Composite Weapon - A weapon made up of two or more distinct parts, especially one that contains a stone tool or point.

Compression Fracture -  A very specific type of transverse fracture caused by excessive bending stress, or "bowing", placed on a thin core from force applied to the base and/or tip.  The fracture starts some distance away from the area of applied force.  A hinge-like scar can usually be seen on one side of the break.

Compression Rings - The ripples on the surface of a flake or flake scar.

Compressor - A pressure flaking tool.

Concave - Curving inward.

Concentration of Applied Force - The applied force can be concentrated by sharpening the tip of a lithic reduction tool, decreasing the surface area of a platform, and/or increasing the hardness of the tool.  This has the effect of increasing the applied force on the surface of the platform in the area of contact.  In other words, concentration of force leads to easier detachment of flakes, without increased effort.  Also, relatively small platforms can be utilized without loss of flake size.

Conchoidal Fracture - A type of brittle fracture that produces a flake, or scar, that resembles a mussel shell.  Conchoidal fractures occur when a brittle material is struck with enough force, in a small enough area, to initiate a curved or cone-like fracture that spreads into the material, and produces the characteristic shape.  As the fracture expands, however, the shape of the fracture plane changes according to the shape of the material, the consistency of the material, the force and direction of the strike, and the stresses acting on the material, such as tensile and shear stresses.

Concrete - A term used by modern flintknappers to indicate an area within a core that is very tough, difficult to fracture, and resembles concrete.

Concretion - A hard, compact mass of sedimentary rock that is formed from mineral precipitation around some kind of nucleus.  The unusual shapes of concretions can sometimes can be confused with fossils or artifacts.

Cone of Force - Also: Hertzian Cone.  A cone-like crack that propagates through a brittle material at the point of applied force.  Not to be confused with the bulb of force.

Cone Shear - Also: Sheared Cone, Split Cone.  The intentional fracture that splits a rounded nodule, pebble, or cobble in half (or nearly in half).

Conical Core - A thick core that is cone-shaped.

Contracted Base - When looking at the face, this is a basal area that is more narrow than the rest of a stone tool.

Context - The physical location of artifacts when initially discovered.

Continuous Platform - A single, long platform, or a series of small platforms spaced close together, prepared on at least 60% of a core’s edge or margin.

Convex - Curving outward.

Copper - A metal used, and often preferred, for modern flintknapping tools and techniques. 

Copper Bopper - A billet made of copper or one that has a copper tip.

Copperhead - Someone who uses copper tools when flintknapping.

Cordage - String made from strong, fibrous, natural, material that is twisted tightly together.  A high-quality twine.

Core - Also: Lithic Core, Objective Piece, Workpiece.  A piece of brittle stone that is intentionally fractured, by using lithic reduction techniques or strategies, to obtain or release flakes, blades, or other sharp pieces.

Core Tablet Flake - Also: Tablet Flake, Tabular Flake, Platform Rejuvenation Tablet.  A distinctive polyhedral, flat flake that is detached from the top of a conical core so that more flakes can be struck from the new surface.  The core tablet flake is detached with one strike and removes the entire top of the core.

Core Tool - A very simple cutting tool.  These stone tools have relatively few flakes scars and still have cortex remaining somewhere on the tool.

Cortex - Also: Rind.  The natural or weathered surface of a cobble, pebble or nodule of stone.  Also applies to the entire layer of softer or unusable material surrounding the knappable material within the nodule.  Sometimes this layer can be very thick.  Not to be confused with the term *patina*, which is a relatively thin layer that forms on the exposed surface of fractured stone.

Cortex Removal - The act of removing the original surface of the nodule by intentional fracturing.  This is usually the first stage of the preparation of any type of core.

Cortical - Possessing some of the cortex of the original cobble, pebble, or nodule of stone.  This applies mainly to flakes, fragments, blades, and thin cores.

Crater - Also: Fire Pop, Pot Lid, Pot Lid Fracture, Heat Pop.  A fracture scar on the surface of a stone that is caused by sudden and drastic heat change.  The fracture resembles a crater or depression with a corresponding detached round flake or lid.

Crazing - Damage caused by heat treating or thermal alteration in the form of small cracks throughout the material.  This renders the stone useless for most lithic reduction.  Can also mean fractures, on the surface of a stone, due to exposure to the elements.

Crested Blade - Also: Prismatic Blade.  A blade with one or two arrises running down the length of the dorsal side of the blade.

Crushing - The production of many, shallow cracks in a small area that releases numerous small fragments; resulting in an irregular or rough surface.  Crushing can occur just before and/or just after flake removal when a percussor or pressure flaker makes contact with the platform.  It is similar to what happens during edge shearing.  When it happens before a flake’s removal it’s called pre-crushing and when it happens after it’s called after-crushing.  Pre-crushing causes energy loss and may damage or ruin the platform.  After-crushing can lead to eraillure flakes, transverse fractures, and damage to the core’s edge.

Cross Section - The cross sections of stone tools may take on many forms such as: flattened, ovoid, ovate, plano-convex, bi-convex, rhomboid, rounded, diamond-shaped, spiral, fluted, and lenticular.  The cross section is an important diagnostic feature of many point styles but is sometimes missing in archaeological data.

Crutch - A type of pressure flaker that uses the weight of the flintknapper’s body to aid in detaching flakes or blades.

Cryptocrystalline - A rock texture that is made up of extremely small crystals.  This type of material is often knappable.

Crystallites - Also: Grains.  Very small or microscopic crystals.

Curved Flake - A flake, with a diffuse bulb of force, that is convex on one side and concave on the other when viewed from the side or margin.


D


Debitage - Also: Waste Flakes, Lithic Debitage.  The combined mass of unused flakes, fragments, and broken or discarded cores resulting from the process of lithic reduction.  Waste from the process of lithic reduction.

Debitage Analysis - The careful analysis of the waste from the lithic reduction process.  The main goals of debitage analysis are to try to determine how stone tools were made, what they were used for, and what material(s) were used to make the lithic reduction tools.

Debris - Also: Dentritus.  Stone material, found in context with flintknapped objects, that cannot be classified as artifacts or debitage.

Decortication Flakes - Flakes that are detached with the intention of removing the outer surface or cortex of a core or nodule.  Not to be confused with skinning flakes.

Denticulate - Also Denticulation.  A stone blade that has fine serrations on its edges.

Delta - Also: Peak.  The portion of a ridge or arris that meets the edge of a core.  These raised areas are detached, with pressure or percussion, if a smooth or straight edge is desired.

Device - Also: Jig.  A machine that provides a greater applied force that can be applied by human hands alone.  Most devices involve the use of a lever arm for applying indirect pressure.  The use of devices in ancient times is a matter of debate.  Some devices in current use are: crutches, fluting jigs, and pressure flaking jigs.

Diagonal Flake Pattern - Also: Diagonal Flaking, Oblique Flake Pattern, Oblique Flaking.  A series of flake scars that run at roughly 30° to 45° to the centerline, from each side, and meeting somewhere in the middle.  This may or may not create a median ridge on a stone tool.

Diffuse Bulb - A bulb of force that is either very small or relatively flat.

Direct Freehand Percussion - Performing direct percussion while holding, and suspending, the core in the hand.

Direct Percussion - Striking the core with an object (percussor) to cause a fracture or to detach a flake.

Direct Supported Percussion - Performing direct percussion while using leg support, or some other support, for the hand that is holding the core.

Distal - On a flake or blade: the end opposite to the platform and/or bulb of force.  On a conical core: the end opposite the area where force is applied to remove flakes.  On a stone tool: the tip or stabbing end.

Dogleg - A collector or flintknapper term used to describe any part of a stone tool that contains a sharp bend, reminiscent of the hind leg of a dog, when viewing the face of the tool.  It is an unusual feature.  Some stems, tangs, or ears may appear bent or sharply curved, for example.

Dome & Plane Reduction Strategy - The removal of flakes from a thin core by first creating a smooth, convex face (dome) and then removing a wide flute from one end of the core to create a flat surface (plane).  The flute usually travels the full length of the core.  This process may or may not be employed on both faces but the goal is always to produce a very thin and flat cross section.

Dorsal - The side of a newly detached and unmodified flake that either shows ridges and scars from previous flake removal(s) or cortex from the original stone.  As flakes are increasingly removed from both sides it becomes increasingly difficult to tell which side is dorsal and, eventually, the designation is no longer needed or useful.

Dorsal Ridge - Also: Keel.  A pronounced ridge (arris) on the dorsal side of a flake that runs the entire length of the flake.

Drill - Also: Borer.  A stone tool with a long point used to create a hole by rotating or twisting the tool along its longitudinal axis while applying pressure towards the tip.  Some flintknapped stone tools, that are classified as drills, may have been used as knives or awls.  Use-wear analysis on the artifact is usually necessary to determine the exact use.

Driving Force - The force directly following the applied force which causes a crack to propagate and travel into and/or though the core.


E


Ear - A pointed, squared, or rounded projection from the corners of the base or hafting area, of a projectile point or knife, that is not classified as a barb.

Edge - Also: Margin.  On a core: the portion of a core where force is applied to remove flakes or blades.  On a stone tool: The working portion of the tool that will be used for cutting, scraping, sawing, slashing, drilling, or chopping.

Edge-to-Edge Flake Pattern - Also: Edge-to-Edge Flaking, Coast-to-Coast Flake Pattern, Coast-to-Coast Flaking, Full-length Flaking.  Flake scars that extend from one margin to the opposite margin of a stone tool.

Edge Use-wear - Polish, abrasions, and/or fractures on a stone tool’s edge that show that the tool was used for some repetitive operation such as cutting, scraping, sawing, slashing, drilling, or chopping.

Elasticity - A property of a material indicating its ability to return to its original shape after being deformed.  The material will begin to deform after it has reached its elastic limit.  Brittle materials do not deform significantly and will fracture at the elastic limit.

Elastic Limit - The maximum deformation, usually displayed on a force-deflection graph, that a material can withstand before it will no longer go back to its original shape.  Brittle material will break at this limit.

End Scraper - A stone tool that has been made from the distal end of a flake.  Not all of these tools show use-wear evidence of being used as scrapers but this does not affect the use of the term.  The working edge is steeply retouched and the ventral side is concave leading up to the sharp edge of the tool.

End Shock - Also: End Snap.  A type of transverse fracture.  This is a manufacturing error caused by excessive and sudden movement or vibration of a thin core during percussion or pressure flaking on one end of the core.  The fracture occurs between the middle of the core and the end opposite the percussion or pressure work.

Excessive Force - Also: Excessive Applied Force.  An amount of force that is much greater than the force required to cause the fracturing of a core.  Can be used with any reduction technique to guarantee a fracture but also increases the chance of a manufacturing error.

Exhausted - Also: Expended.  When a stone tool or core can no longer be used for its intended purpose due to use and not due to breakage.

Expedient Tool - An unworked flake or fragment used in the same capacity as, or a substitute for, a flaked projectile point, drill, knife, or other cutting tool.

Eraillure Flake - A secondary flake detached from the main flake's bulb of force.

Experimental Archaeology - Also: Replication.  In flintknapping, the attempt to recreate ancient techniques to produce stone tools, cores, flakes, debitage, and any other modified stone material that existed in the same context.

Expert Flintknapper - Someone who can explain, teach, and perform a wide range of known flintknapping techniques, with a high degree of skill, and produce predetermined shapes in an efficient, consistent, and predictable manner.


F


Fabric - A rock’s spatial and geometric configuration of all the elements within it.

Fabricator - A tool used to remove flakes from a core such as a percussor, crutch, lever, or pressure flaker. 

Face - The surface of a thin core, flake, or fragment.

Facet - A relatively flat area on a core or platform.  Usually, this area is a flake scar but it can also be some other type of fracture plane.

Faceted Platform - A platform that is not level, smooth, or flat.  Faceted platforms contain two or more surface areas that are at different angles to each other and may also contain irregularities like step fractures.

Fatigue - A weakening of a material due to repeated stress.

Feather Termination - Also: Feathering.  A gradual tapering of a flake’s distal end that results in very thin, sharp edge.  This term also applies to a flake scar that shows a smooth transition, on the surface of a core, at the end of a flake’s path.

Field Grade Artifacts - Stone tools or other objects found at a site that are not of the highest quality, state of preservation, workmanship, and/or value for the type.

Field Research - Also: Fieldwork.  The collection of information at an archaeological site or other location outside of a laboratory.

Field Stone - A stone that occurs naturally on the surface of a field or other open area.

Final Pass - The last series of thinning flakes that is detached from a preform.  This series is often very skillfully performed and can be a diagnostic feature of the stone tool.  The core is usually carefully prepared in anticipation of this final sequence of flakes.

First Stage - The non-retouched state of a finished tool.

Fissures - Also: Impact Scars, Hackles.  Narrow, crack-like channels on the ventral side of a flake that radiate out from the point of impact.  Most often seen on flakes detached with hard hammer percussion techniques.

Fake - Also: Fake Artifact.  A reproduction made with the intent to fool onlookers, experts, and/or buyers into believing the item is a true stone artifact.

Flake - Also: Lithic Flake, Scalar Flake, Chip, Lamellar Chip, Spall, Detached Piece.  A relatively flat piece of stone detached from another stone by intentional and controlled fracturing.  A flake contains the following parts: a platform remnant, a bulb of force, and a termination.  The portion that contains the platform remnant and bulb of force is called the proximal end.  The portion that contains the termination is called the distal end.  The portion between the proximal and distal ends is called the medial portion.  A flake that does not contain all three of these parts is called a fragment.  Fragments are broken pieces of stone that cannot be classified as flakes.  Fragments can be classified according to the part(s) of a flake they came from: proximal, medial, distal, or indistinct.  Flakes and fragments that are discarded are called debitage.  Indistinct fragments are grouped under the debris classification.

Flake Initiation - The beginning of a fracture that leads to the creation of a flake.  This fracture is caused by force(s) applied to the a core by a lithic reduction tool and is influenced by platform isolation, brittleness of the material, and the condition of the platform surface.

Flake Pattern - Also: Flake Scar Pattern.  The overall look of the flaked surface of a stone tool.  The pattern names are: bold, chevron, coast-to-coast, collateral, diagonal, edge-to-edge, oblique, offset, overshot, parallel, random, transverse, wide, and Z-flake.  Pattern names can be combined to fit the situation.

Flake Production - Detaching flakes with a single technique with the intent of producing a number of flakes with similar dimensions.

Flake Scar - The impression on the surface of a core or other flintknapped object that results from the removal of a flake.

Flake Scar Study - A type of tool surface analysis that focusses on the characteristics of flake scars (sometimes called "signatures") to determine the tool(s) and or method(s) of flake removal.

Flaker - A tool used to detach flakes from a core that is not a hammerstone, billet, or bopper.  Flakers can be of two types: pressure or percussion.

Flake Study - A type of debitage analysis that focusses on the characteristics of certain detached pieces of stone that have a platform remnant and a bulb of force (flakes).

Flake Tool - A stone tool made from a specially made or chosen flake or fragment that shows little or no retouch before or after use.  Identified mainly through evidence of use-wear.  Not to be confused with an expedient tool.

Flake Type - A name given to a flake based on a unique attribute(s).  The attribute(s) may or may not be the result of a certain reduction technique or strategy.

Flaking - Also: Spalling, Chipping, Lamellar Chipping.  The act of detaching pieces of stone from another stone using a lithic reduction tool.  Spalling implies the removal of relatively large pieces from a large, thick core.

Flat Flaking - The intentional and skillful removal of flakes with diffuse bulbs of force.

Flexibility - The amount of bending an object can withstand before breaking.  Usually expressed as measure of deflection or flex.

Flint - A variety of chert that is formed within chalk or limestone formations.  It can also be classified as a very fine-grained quartz.  It occurs chiefly as nodules in sedimentary rocks, cobbles in stream or river beds, and as angular chunks eroded from exposed outcroppings.  Flint is arguably the best material for stone tools.

Flintknapping - The intentional and controlled flaking or fracturing of flint, volcanic glass, chert, or any other similar material resulting in the production of sharp pieces that can be used as stone tools.  Also applies to stone objects created purely for artistic or ceremonial reasons.  Implies a recreational or modern professional approach to lithic reduction technology.

Fragment - Also: Flake Fragment, Blade Fragment.  Fragments are broken pieces of stone that have been detached from a core but cannot be classified as flakes.  Fragments are classified according to the part of the flake they came from: proximal, medial, distal, or indistinct.  Fragments that are discarded are called debitage.  Indistinct fragments are grouped under the debris classification.

Flute - Also: Channel.  A very distinctive, pronounced, basal thinning flake scar.  Sometimes this flake scar runs the entire length of a core or stone tool.  Flutes are one of the main features on Paleo-Indian Clovis, Folsom, and Cumberland points (among others).  Smaller or less pronounced flutes may also occur on later points.  On rare occasions, points may be fluted from the tip as well as the base.

Flute Flake - Also: Channel Flake.  The flake that is detached when a flute is created.  Some flute flakes show evidence of use-wear.

Fluting Jig - A device that provides the applied force during the removal of a channel flake.  The jig may deliver the force by pressure or percussion.

Foliate - This can mean either that a stone object looks like a leaf or that the stone has a layered structure.

Force - Energy that causes an object to undergo a certain change.  Force has both magnitude and direction.

Four Sided Bevel - A stone tool that has both edges steeply retouched on both sides.

Fracture - The separation of a material into two or more pieces under the action of stress.  Crack initiation and propagation are part of the fracturing process and must be guided when trying to control fractures during lithic reduction.  The cracks that propagate in a brittle material will continue to grow and increase in magnitude, once they are initiated, and cracks can either pass through the grains within the material or along the grain boundaries.

Fracture Mechanics - Also: Mechanics of Fracture.  The study of how cracks propagate through materials.

Fracture Plane - Also:  Fracture Wave.  The surface created by a crack in a brittle material.  When this surface is exposed, it is often wavy and contains recognizable features like the bulb of force, for example.

Freehand - Lithic reduction done while holding, and suspending, the core in one hand.

Freehand Percussion - Performing direct percussion while holding, and suspending, the core in one hand.

Furrow - A depression in the material of a finished workpiece that is shaped like a "V".  When seen on a base, the furrow gives the base or stem a "fishtail" appearance.  When seen on a cross section or face, the furrow appears to be a meeting of stepped or hinged flake scars initiated from one or both sides.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 09:40:27 am by JackCrafty »
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Where's the Rock?  Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
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Offline JackCrafty

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  • Sorry Officer, I was just gathering "materials".
Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms - Work in Progress
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 06:51:04 pm »
G


Geofact - Also:  Naturefact, Pseudo Tool.  A naturally occurring stone that resembles a stone tool or artifact.

Geometric Microlith - A relatively small, thin, stone tool made from a flake and looks like a triangle, rectangle, trapezoid, crescent or other geometric shape when viewed from the face.

Gravel - Relatively small, rounded, nodules of knappable material that usually occur in river beds.  Most gravel is low-grade material but some can be very high grade and colorful.

Graver - A flake tool with a sharp projection that is used to engrave or incise objects.  Not to be confused with a burin.

Ground Stone - Generally refers to any stone object made by a combination of pecking, pounding, grinding, drilling, sawing, and incising, and includes objects such as mortars, metates, pestles, manos, grinding slabs, hammerstones, celts, axes, plummets, cruciforms, beads, etc.


H


Hafting Area - Also: Haft.  The portion of a stone tool that is attached to a handle or shaft.  Usually, the hafting area on a stone tool is made thinner than the rest of the tool and is sometimes ground or abraded so that the binding will not be cut.

Hafting Glue - Also: Pitch, Pitch Glue.  An adhesive, usually applied hot, that is used to attach a stone tool to a handle or shaft.  When cooled, the glue becomes hard and creates a secure bond.  The glue ay or may not be used in combination with binding.

Hand Axe - A general purpose cutting tool with two faces and a sharp edge.  It is the longest-used stone tool of human history.

Hinge Termination - Also: Hinge Fracture.  A flake termination that has ended abruptly but cleanly (rounded).

Homogenous - A material that is the same, and uniform, throughout.

Horizon - A tool technology that is shared by two or more social or material cultures.

Horizontal Punch - A punch that is struck on the side and near the part touching the platform: at approximately 90° to the longitudinal axis of the punch.  The tip of the punch experiences mainly tension forces.


I


Igneous Rock - A rock formed by the cooling of magma or lava, such as rhyolite, andesite, and basalt.

Ignimbrite - A rock composed of fine, compacted, volcanic ash that includes particles of natural glass, pumice, and other material.  Sometimes confused with obsidian.

Incipient Fracture - Also: Incipient Cone, Wedge.  A crack that has only partially penetrated into the core material.  These cracks can be created in a variety of ways but most often occur during percussion techniques.  Not to be confused with crazing or cracks caused by temperature changes.

Inclusion - Any material that is trapped inside a stone during its formation.

Indirect Freehand Percussion - Performing indirect percussion while holding and suspending the core in the hand.

Indirect Percussion - Placing pointed object (punch) on the core and striking it with a mallet to cause a fracture or to detach a flake.  A hammerstone can be used in place of the mallet, if desired.  Pressure can also be added to the punch before striking it (which is sometimes called "loading up").

Indirect Pressure - Also: Levered Pressure, Lever Assisted Pressure.  Pressure applied to a core with the aid of a lever while the tip of the lever is resting on a platform.  The process can be reversed with the tip of the lever resting on the core while another object is in contact with the core’s platform.  Indirect pressure also means any external force that is applied to a pressure flaker or the hand during flake removal.

Indirect Supported Percussion - Performing indirect percussion while using support for the hand holding the core.

Industry - Stone tools or artifacts that have been manufactured by the same skill set or reduction strategy.

Incipient Crack - A partial fracture within a core or nodule.  Usually caused by a percussion strike.  Large incipient cracks can render a material weak, unstable, or useless.  Small cracks, however, are often a necessary part of the reduction process, especially within sheared, battered, or abraded areas.

In Situ - The location and condition of the artifact when it was first discovered and not yet removed from its resting place.  A picture is often taken of the discovery to preserve the context and provenience.

Instrument - A hand-held, non-levered, lithic reduction or flaking tool.  This term is sometimes used to help avoid confusion.  A tool can also mean a projectile point, for example.  Also used to differentiate between relatively simple hand-held tools and more complicated devices or machines.

Insufficient Support - One of the conditions that may lead to a transverse fracture, of a thin core, during the application of force to remove a flake.

Interval of Contact - The period of time between the initial application of force and the beginning of a fracture.  This interval lasts relatively longer with pressure than with percussion techniques.  Typically, the shorter the interval the greater the applied force and the greater the chance of excessive force.

Isolated Platform - Also: Promontory.  A platform that is constructed to capture as much of the applied force as possible.  The area around the platform is trimmed, the edge is abraded, and the surface is smoothed so that no extraneous material interferes with the flake removal.

Isotropic - Having identical values of a property in all directions.  Glass is good example of an isotropic material.


J


Jasper - A form of chalcedony that is usually red, yellow, purple, brown, green, or blue in color.


K


Knappable Material - Any hard, brittle material, such as flint or glass, that can be shaped with careful and controlled fracturing by human hands.


L


Lame a Crete - The first blade removed from a thick core after the core has been prepared for the removal of blades.

Lancolate - Also: Lance Shaped.  A shape in leaf morphology that looks like a long oval.  One of the most common shapes for a stone tool.

Lateral - Pertaining to the sides of a thin core, or stone tool, when viewing the face.

Leading Edge - The edge or margin of a core that is closest to the knapper during flake removal.

Leaf Morphology - Also: Leaf Shape.  The names for leaf shapes.  These are useful in describing the shape of stone projectile points, knives, bifaces, and similar objects. 

Leg Support - Using the upper part of the leg(s) to support a core or anvil while performing lithic reduction in a seated or crouched position.

Levallois Core - A type of thin, centripetally flaked core that has a large flake removal scar that covers at least 60% of one face.

Levallois Technique - A type of centripetal core reduction strategy specific to Levallois stone tool or flake manufacture.

Lever - A rigid rod pivoting at a fixed point.  A lever amplifies an input force on one end of the rod (arm) to provide a greater output force on the other end (tip).

Lithic - Relating to flintknapped or ground stone artifacts or tools.

Lithic Analysis - The macroscopic and microscopic analysis of stone tools and other stone artifacts.

Lithic Refitting - Also: Refitting, Reassembling.  Rebuilding a core with the detached flakes of that core.  Useful in determining the reduction strategy.

Lithic Reduction - Also: Stone Tool Manufacture.  The intentional and controlled fracturing of flint, volcanic glass, chert, or any other similar material resulting in the production of sharp pieces that can be used as stone tools.  More specifically, the act of using reduction strategies to manufacture a stone tool from start to finish.  Also applies to stone objects created purely for artistic or ceremonial reasons.  Implies an intellectual understanding of lithic reduction technology.

Lithic Technology - Also: Technology.  The skill set and tools needed to produce flaked or ground stone objects.

Lithics - Man-made stone objects.

Longitudinal Axis - Also: Long Axis, Median Line.  The imaginary line that runs lengthwise along the middle of the face of a thin core.

Longitudinal Section - The cross section of a thin core as seen from the edge or side view.

Luster - The way light interacts with the surface of a newly fractured stone.  Terms used to describe luster include dull, grainy, shiny, greasy, and silky, among others.  The luster of a stone may be helpful in determining if a stone has been altered by heat.

M


Macroscopic Visual Assessment - Visually analyzing an object, like a stone artifact, with the naked eye as opposed to looking at it with the aid of magnification.

Mallet - A baton-like tool that makes contact with a percussion flaker or punch during indirect percussion.

Mass - An object’s resistance to acceleration or movement.

Mastic - An aromatic resin used chiefly in varnishes and glues.

Material Culture - A distinct group of artifacts and structures, along with the technology that created them, that is linked to a specific group of people.

Median Ridge - A pronounced area that runs down the middle of the surface of a thin core.  This area is formed by flakes originating at the margins and terminating near the middle of the face.

Mental Template - The plan that a flintknapper has in his mind that he follows when manufacturing a stone tool.

Microburin - A waste fragment from the production of a microlith or microlith core.  Not to be confused with a burin, burin blade, or burin spall.

Microlith - Also: Geometric Microlith.  A relatively small, thin, stone tool (bit) made from a microlith core.  A microlith may resemble a triangle, rectangle, trapezoid, crescent or other geometric shape when viewed from the face.  It is used mainly for engraving or incising and is securely mounted to a handle to form a composite tool.

Microlith Core Reduction Strategy - The process of making microlith cores from a parent core.  The parent core can be any type of core.  The microlith cores, in contrast, are usually small flakes, small fragments, bladelets, or microblades.

Midline - The longitudinal axis of a thin core when looking at the face.

Modern Flintknapping - Also: Modern Tool Flintknapping.  An interpretation of flintknapping performed with tools made from metals or modern materials.

Morphology - The physical attributes of an object.

Multiple Tool - A stone tool that can be, or has been, used for many purposes.  This makes it difficult to determine the tool’s primary or initial function.


N


Native Copper - Copper found at or near the surface in a relatively pure state as a natural mineral.  The shape and size of the irregular nuggets is most often relatively small, flattened, and/or elongated.

Natural Flaking - Flakes or flake scars caused by natural forces.

Needle Tip - Slightly concave sides leading up to a long, sharp and pointed tip.

Negative Bulb - Also: Negative Bulb of Force, Negative Bulb of Percussion.  The portion of the flake scar on the core that matches the bulb of force on the corresponding detached flake.

Normal Fracture - A type of transverse fracture, caused by bending and tensile stresses, that originates at the platform when a flake is detached.  The plane of fracture is perpendicular (normal) to the bulb of force.

Non-cortical Biface - A bifacial core that does not have any cortex, or original nodule surface, remaining on its surfaces.

Non-retouched - Also: Unmodified.  A stone tool, flake, or fragment that has not been altered by lithic reduction after manufacture.

Notch - A relatively deep concavity flintknapped into an edge of a stone tool, usually done in pairs, to aid in hafting the tool to a shaft or handle.

Notched Pad - A pad that is made from a stiff, but soft, material that has a channel cut into it so that flakes can be removed from the core without the flakes touching the pad.

Notcher - Also: Notching Tool.  A lithic reduction tool that is specifically designed for creating relatively deep and narrow concavities on the edge of a stone tool.


O


Obsidian - A naturally occurring volcanic glass.  It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth.

Obscure Side - The face of a thin core that cannot be seen by the flintknapper during the reduction process.

Offset Flake Pattern - When flake scars on a collateral or diagonal (oblique) flake pattern do not align with each other in the middle of the core, preform, or stone tool.

Opportunistic Flaking - Also:  Opportunistic Flake Removal.  Flaking that utilizes platforms that have not been intentionally isolated or individually refined in some way.  Usually performed on a large portion of an edge that has been smoothed, abraded, battered, or sheared in one action.  However, it can also be performed on unprepared edges or by utilizing fracture surfaces caused by natural forces.

Oscillating Direction of Force - Leads to deep ripples near the termination of a flake.  Caused by uneven or varying tension stress.

Osseous Tissue - Bone or antler.

Overshot - Also: Outrepasse, Overshot Flaking.  A distinctive flake removal that occurs when a flake travels across the face of a thin core and removes a portion of the opposite edge.  Usually considered to be a manufacturing error but a highly skilled knapper can sometimes control this type of flake removal and use it as a manufacturing technique.  Sometimes confused with a plunging flake or plunging termination.


P


Pad - A relatively soft, flat, thick object (usually leather) that supports the core and protects a flintknapper’s hand, fingers, or leg.

Paleo-Indian - A name given to the first people who entered and lived in the Americas.

Parallel Flake Pattern - Also: Parallel Flaking.  A series of relatively narrow flake scars that run close together and usually overlap.

Pass - Also:  Set.  The act of removing several flakes on one face, without interruption, and performed by striking several platforms along an entire edge that is usually prepared in advance.  A pass can be done with pressure or percussion and either randomly or with an orderly sequence.  As a side note, this is the typical method of flake removal, for all types of points, by the vast majority of modern knappers.

Passive Pressure - Applying pressure to a core in a slow, careful, increasing, manner until the flake detaches or releases on its own.  The axis of applied force may change while the pressure is increasing but the force is never excessive at any time.

Patina - Also: Corticated Layer.  A relatively thin, soft, outer crust or mineral layer that develops on the exposed surface of fractured stone due to chemical or mechanical weathering over time.  Sometimes used interchangeably with the term *cortex*.

Patination - Also: Cortification.  The natural processes leading to the development of a soft outer crust or mineral layer on exposed surfaces of fractured stone over time.

Pebble Tool - Also Oldowan Tool.  The earliest stone tool objects or industry in prehistory.  These stone tools take the form of relatively simple choppers, scrapers, and pounders made from rounded cobbles or pebbles.

Pecking - A method of lithic reduction that involves the use of a hard hammer to very gradually smash or crush away the surface of a stone to manufacture a useful object.  Often used in combination with grinding and polishing.  Not to be confused with battering.

Percussion - Also: Percussion Flaking.  Striking the core with an object (percussor) to cause a fracture or to detach a flake.  In other words, a percussor delivers the applied force.  This process can be reversed.  See Reverse Percussion, Freehand Percussion, Supported Percussion, Indirect Percussion, Indirect Freehand Percussion, Indirect Supported Percussion, Reverse Indirect Percussion, Pressure-assisted Percussion.

Percussion-assisted Pressure - Striking a pressure flaker, while the pressure flaker is applying pressure to the core, to detach a flake.  The pressure force exceeds the percussion force.  It is also possible to reverse this process and strike the core, while the pressure flaker is applying pressure to the core, to detach a flake.

Percussion Flake - A flake that that has been detached with a percussion technique while performing lithic reduction.  Determining if a flake has been detached with percussion, without witnessing the reduction, is difficult to impossible.

Percussion Flaker - Percussor, Impactor, Percussion Tool, Hammer, Striker.  A tool that makes contact with the core and delivers the applied force by direct or indirect percussion.  The percussion force can be applied by a hand-held tool, a stationary tool, or an intermediate tool (punch).

Perforator - A stone tool with a long, sharp point used to puncture holes in a soft material like leather or wood.  Not to be confused with a drill.

Perverse Fracture - A type of transverse fracture with a helical plane.

Phase - A wide area containing artifacts, within a single level or strata on one or more sites, indicating that human activities took place.  This is the largest type of artifact grouping.

Plane of Cleavage - The surface of a crack that has split or broken a brittle material along crystallographic planes.  A crystallographic plane is a relatively weak area of bonding inside the structure of a crystal.  Also applies to cracks that follow weak bonds between layers of minerals inside a stone.

Plane of Fracture - The surface of a crack that has split or broken a brittle material along a path that is perpendicular to the applied tension.

Plan View - Also: Front View, Bird’s Eye View.  Looking at the face of a thin core.  The margins of the piece can be seen clearly from this view.

Plano-convex Cross Section - A cross section that shows that one face of a thin core, or stone tool, is flat (plano) and the other face convex.

Plate - A flat, hand-held, stone used to support or to add weight to a thin core as flakes are being removed.  The core may be in direct contact with the plate or cushioned by a pad.

Platform - Also: Striking Platform.  The portion of a nodule, core, or tool which receives the force necessary to detach flakes during reduction or retouch.

Platform Abrasion - Intentional smoothening, rounding, or flattening of a platform in preparation for the application of force.  Helps to prevent crushing and loss of energy.

Platform Angle - Also: Exterior Platform Angle.  The maximum angle formed by the surface of the platform and the dorsal side of the flake adjacent to the platform.  This angle is difficult to measure, especially when the platform is not flat.

Platform Depth - Also: Platform Size.  The maximum distance from the former edge of the core to the ring crack.  This measurement is often difficult to determine, especially when the platform has been crushed and/or if the core’s edge was irregular.

Platform Facet - A platform can be faceted or un-faceted.  A faceted platform has two or more flake scars and may have crushed areas.  An un-faceted platform can be the surface of a singe flake scar and/or purposely smoothed by abrasion.

Platform Isolation - The removal of material from the perceived boundary of the platform.  This is done to ensure that the surrounding material does not make contact with, and diminish the force from, the lithic reduction tool.

Platform Preparation - Any type of enhancement done to a platform prior to the application of force, such as abrading, isolating, or faceting.

Platform Remnant - The portion of the platform that remains on a flake after detachment from the core.

Plunging Flake - Also: Diving Flake.  A flake that dives into the core material.  The flake may truncate the core, cause a transverse fracture, or break off (incomplete reverse hinge) leaving an incipient crack in the material.  Sometimes used interchangeably with the term *overshot flake*.  Plunging flakes can also be intentionally used to create a furrowed cross section.

Point - A finished bifacial or unifacial projectile point, drill, or knife with flake scars on at least 60% of one surface.  Does not include axes, blanks, burins, cores, perforators, preforms, prismatic blades, scrapers, spalls, or unmodified flakes.  Exception: some unworked flakes were used as projectile points, drills, or knives but these are classified as expedient tools.

Point of Applied Force - Also: Point of Impact, Point of Contact, Point of Pressure, Area of Impact.  The place on the core surface, platform, or platform remnant, that received the applied force before fracturing.

Polish - An abraded surface that is extremely smooth to the touch.

Post-excavation Analysis - The study of materials, artifacts, and structures that have been excavated and/or collected from a particular site.

Pre-Columbian Metal Artifacts - Metal artifacts manufactured in the Americas before the year 1492.  Mostly made of native metals, some were also made from purified metals and alloys.  Metallurgy and the capability of producing bronze, for example, existed in pre-Columbian Meso-America and South America as evidenced by axe-monies and other objects.

Preform - A thin core that has reached a stage just prior to the final flaking or finishing of a stone tool.

Prehistoric - The period in history prior to written or detailed pictorial records.

Pressure - Also: Pressure Flaking, Direct Pressure.  Pressing the core with an object (pressure flaker) to cause a fracture or to detach a flake.  In other words, a pressure flaker delivers the applied force.  This process can be reversed.  See Reverse Pressure, Aggressive Pressure, Passive Pressure, Percussion-assisted Pressure.

Pressure-assisted Percussion - Applying pressure between a punch and the core so that the pressure force will be added to the percussion force when striking.  It is also possible to reverse the process and apply pressure between the core and an anvil and then striking the core.  The percussion force exceeds the pressure force.

Pressure Flake - A flake that that has been detached with a pressure technique while performing lithic reduction.  Determining if a flake has been detached with pressure, without witnessing the reduction, is difficult to impossible.

Pressure Flaker - A tool that makes contact with the core and delivers the applied force by direct or indirect pressure.  The pressure force can be applied by a hand-held tool, a stationary tool, a crutch (weight-assisted pressure tool), or a lever.

Primary Biface - Also: Stage 1 Biface, Initial Biface.  After removal of at least some of the cortex, this is the stage where the core begins to become thin and flat enough to be considered a biface.

Primary Retouch - Also: Dressing the Edge, Removing the Deltas, Cleaning Up the Edge.  Flakes removed from the edge of the core to create a better surface for the removal of more flakes or blades.

Primitive - Made from natural materials.  The objects may or may not resemble historical items or artifacts.

Primitive Technology - Also: Primitive Arts, Bushcraft.  A generic umbrella under which flintknappers operate.  This includes both modern flintknapping and abo flintknapping.  When practiced as a primitive technology, flintknapping is considered and art or handicraft.

Prismatic Blade - Also: Crested Blade.  A very skillfully detached blade with a trapezoidal or triangular cross section and parallel sides.  See Crested Blade

Projectile - A thrown or fired weapon that has a long shaft such as an arrow, spear, dart, harpoon, or javelin.

Projectile Point - Specifically, a flintknapped stone tool that is hafted to the tip of a projectile.  Unfortunately, the term has also been used to identify all manner of stone tools with a pointed end, regardless of their use.

Provenance - The history of a stone artifact’s ownership, custody, and initial discovery location (provenience).

Provenience - The three-dimensional location of a stone artifact within an archaeological site or controlled dig.

Proximal - On a flake, spall, burin, or blade: the end containing the platform or bulb of force.  On a unidirectional core: the area where force is applied to remove flakes or blades.

Pseudoburin - A piece of debitage that resembles a burin.

Punch - A cylindrical or conical object or tool that is used to accurately transfer the applied force between a percussor and the core.  Not to be confused with a bit, which is part of a composite flaking tool.


Q


Quarry - A place where lithic material for tools has been removed from it's natural source.  The material may have been collected from the surface and/or mined.

Quarry Blank - A piece of lithic material that has been roughly shaped by the removal of one or more flakes and then transported away from it's natural source so that it can be worked further elsewhere.


R


Random Flake Pattern - Also: Random Flaking, Unpatterned Flaking.  Flake scars that show a random and varied removal of flakes from the surface of a stone tool or core.

Raw Stone - Stone that has not been heat treated.

Reconstruction - Also: Reconstruction Archaeology.  A form of experimental archaeology that is performed and recorded using scientific guidelines, based upon the latest archaeological evidence, to produce a copy of a stone tool or artifact.

Reduction - Intentional flake removal, usually by percussion, during the initial stages of the manufacturing of a stone tool.  Some texts refer to primary and secondary reduction but the meanings of these terms varies with the author’s interpretation.

Reduction Strategy - The series of techniques used to shape a particular core or tool.  The strategy requires a specific skill set and the core or tool develops a distinctive shape.

Reduction Trajectory - Also Trajectory.  An observed, established, or repeatable sequence of steps or stages in the manufacturing of a particular stone tool.  Ideally, the entire trajectory is known, from initial core or flake to finished tool, but sometimes evidence is lacking or the trajectory is not consistent.

Repair Flaking - Flaking done for no other reason than to remove a flaw caused by a previous flake.  Also, the flake scar may or may not show evidence that the flake was removed for the purpose of eliminating a flaw.

Replication - See Experimental Archaeology

Reproduction - A modern-made object that looks like a stone artifact when observed under normal conditions.  The technique(s) used may be any that produce the desired effect and no attempt is made to conceal the fact that it is modern-made.

Residue Analysis - The identification of the substance(s) remaining on a stone artifact after excavation and before cleaning.  Residues may include organic substances or minerals such as DNA, paint pigment, Bitumen, tree resin, etc.

Residual Core - A discarded or exhausted thick core.

Retouch - Also: Rejuvenation.  Intentional flake removal, usually by pressure, just before completion of a stone tool.  Also applies to later modifications to the edge of a stone tool to repair, resharpen, or reshape the tool after use.  Some texts refer to primary and secondary retouch but the meanings of these terms varies with the author’s interpretation.

Reverse Indirect Percussion - Placing the core on an object, so that the platform rests on the object, and then striking the core with a mallet to cause a fracture or to detach a flake.  A hammerstone can be used in place of the mallet, if desired.

Reverse Percussion - Also: Inverse Percussion.  Striking an object (block or anvil) with the core to cause a fracture or to detach a flake.

Reverse Pressure - Holding and pressing the core against an object (pressure flaker) to cause a fracture or to detach a flake.

Ridge Abrading - Also Ridge Grinding, Arris Grinding, Mapping.  The act of abrading or grinding the face of a core to highlight the raised areas to more easily see a potential flake path.  Also can be done as a final manufacturing procedure to smoothen or flatten the surface of a stone tool.

Rim - The edge of a ring crack.

Ring Crack - The crack that appears at the point of separation between the platform and the core during flake removal.  It is often rounded or arched in shape.

Ripple - A wave or undulation on the surface of a flake or flake scar.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 09:13:50 am by JackCrafty »
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it. :::.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
JackCrafty (youtube)

Where's the Rock?  Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How Do I Cook It?  Light Colors:  200°  for 24hrs, 400°  for 4hrs, Cool for 12hrs.

Offline JackCrafty

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Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms - Work in Progress
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2013, 11:57:10 pm »
S


Salient Bulb - An obsolete term meaning a pronounced bulb of force.

Sedimentary Rock - A type of rock that is formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface in the presence of water.

Sequential Flaking - Also:  Serial Flaking.  A flake pattern created by removing flakes in sequence, with an intentionally minimized or reduced space in between flakes, for the purpose of thinning, retouching, re-sharpening, beveling, removing blades, and/or creating a cosmetically pleasing effect.  Sometimes the flakes overlap and utilize the arris created by the previous flake but this is not always the case.

Scraper - A generic name for a tool that is made from a flake and has steep retouch on the distal end.  Not all of these tools show use-wear evidence of being used as scrapers but this does not affect the use of the term.  The ventral side is usually concave leading up to the sharp edge of the tool.

Seriation - A sharp projection on the edge or margin of a finished tool.  Serrations may be widely spaced or closely spaced.

Shatter - Debitage that is not classified as flakes.

Shard - A small, very sharp, slender piece of glass or stone that resembles a fiber.  Not to be confused with the word sherd (a broken piece of pottery).

Shear - In fracturing:  deformation of a material caused by surfaces of a crack sliding past one another.  As a reduction technique:  the removal of material using an abrading motion perpendicular to the core’s edge.

Sheared Platform - A platform created or enhanced by rubbing an abrader across the edge in a transverse direction (perpendicular to the edge).

Shearing the Edge - Also: Shearing, Scrunching.  Removing many small flakes by forcefully dragging an abrader in a transverse direction across the edge of a core or flake.  The core can also be dragged across a stationary abrader.  This has the effect of reducing width, removing spurs and small peaks, and abrading the edge at the same time.  Shearing is usually done in both directions and affecting both faces.  If performed in one direction, shearing can be used to turn an edge, bevel an edge, or to create a sheared platform.

Shear Stress - The force(s) leading up to shear failure of a material.

Shock - Sudden excessive force or excessive vibration.

Shock Wave - An excessive force or excessive vibration that travels through a material.

Shoulder - A part of a stone tool that resembles a barb but does not protrude at an acute angle.  Shoulders, when they occur, are located above a stemmed base.

Side Scraper - A type of scraper with the steep, working edge created on one side or margin of a flake or finished tool.

Silex - A word of Latin origin meaning hard stone.  Currently used in some European languages for *flint*.

Siliceous - Containing or made of silica.

Silicification - Also: []Petrification[].  The process in which organic matter becomes saturated with silica and becomes stone.

Silicified Sandstone - Sandstone that has become saturated and hardened by silica.

Silicified Slate - Slate that has become saturated and hardened by silica.

Sinuous - Wavy or having many curves.  Used to describe ridges, arrises, or edges that exhibit this characteristic.

Skill - The ability to choose the right technique at the right time and to perform that technique effectively and efficiently.

Skill Set - The collection of skills needed to manufacture a lithic object.

Skinning Flakes - Flakes detached from a chert nodule with the intent of capturing and using the material just under the cortex.  This material (skin) is often superior to, and more colorful than, the material in the interior.  Finished objects made from these flakes may or may not retain some of the original cortex.

Slate - A relatively soft, dense, very fine-grained rock with layers that can be easily separated into flat sheets and then ground into objects or tools.

Snapped Base - A type of base on a finished tool that appears to have been broken off with a transverse fracture.  May or may not be intentional.

Snapping - The act of intentionally creating a transverse fracture.

Spalling Hammer - A modern, specialized, direct percussion tool used for creating large flakes.

Spiral Blade - A finished tool that exhibits a twist in the body of the blade.  The twist can be slight or pronounced.

Spur - Also: Lip, Overhang, Beak, Hook.  A projection at the rim of a flake or core.  On a flake, a spur can exist on the ventral or dorsal side.  A spur can also be an intentionally constructed projection on the edge of a graver, scraper, or other flake tool.

Stack - A vertical series of two or more step fractures in the same spot.  Usually occurring near the edge of a core.

Static Punch - An object of stone, bone, antler, or ivory, on which cores are placed so that flakes can be detached with reverse indirect percussion.

Stratigraphy - Things deposited in layers, on the ground, over time.  Each layer is considered a level (strata) and is analyzed as a whole.

Steep Retouch - A style of pressure flaking that is similar to beveling but not as acute.  The result is an edge that is squared or very steep.  The edge angles range from 60° to 90°.  Most often used on scraper edges, basal (stem) edges, and the dull side of backed blades.

Step Fracture - Also: Step Termination.  A flake scar that contains a fragment that has failed to detach.

Strangled Blade - A stone blade with a constriction, in thickness or width, somewhere along its length.

Strengthened Platform - A platform that has been made stronger by flattening and/or increasing its surface area.

Supported Percussion - Performing direct percussion while using leg support, or some other support, for the hand that is holding the core.


T


Tab - Also: Tabular Nodule.  A type of nodule that is relatively thin and flat.

Tabular Core - A thick core that has flattened appearance.

Tang - A relatively long stem on a finished tool that is constructed to facilitate hafting.

Taphonomy - The study of decaying organisms over time and, if applicable, how they become fossilized.

Taxonomic Classification - Naming a group of organisms based on something that they have in common.  This can be applied to humans that share the same hunting stone tool, like a Clovis point, for example.  In this case, they might be named Clovis People.

Taxonomy - The practice of classifying organisms.

Technique - The physical work performed specifically during the manufacture of a lithic object.

Termination - The part of a flake scar the corresponds to the distal end of a flake.

Tensile Strength - The amount of force required to stretch a material until it fractures.  Most brittle materials have low tensile strength.

Texture - Also: Microstructure.  In geology, the basic textural classes of rocks are: crystalline (interlocking crystals), fragmental, aphanitic, and glassy (very small particles that are too small to be seen and amorphously arranged).

Thick Core - A core that is rounded, blocky, angular, multifaceted and/or has a width to thickness ratio of more than 2:1.  These can be described as nodular, tabular, wedge shaped, unidirectional, multidirectional, conical, biconical, cylindrical, polyhedral, or discoidal.  This type of core is usually discarded when the desired type of flakes can no longer be removed from it.

Thin Core - A core with width to thickness ratio of 2:1 or less and has two distinct faces.  These can be described as cortical, unifacial, bifacial, or blade-like.  This type of core is usually not discarded unless broken accidentally or has a major defect.

Thinning - Also: Thinning Technique.  The process of removing flakes from a core with the primary intention of reducing the core’s thickness.  The production of useful flakes or blades is secondary.

Thinning Flake - Also: Bifacial Thinning Flake.  A type of carefully detached flake, preferably with a feather termination, that is used to reduce the thickness of the center and/or the edge of a thin core.  Most thinning flakes travel past the midline of the core but thinning flakes can also be used to create a median ridge or retouched edge.  Platforms are always carefully prepared.

Tipping - An obsolete term meaning the creation of a tip or point on a tool.

Tool - A stone object that has been made by lithic reduction for some useful purpose other than purely for art.

Top of Core - The part of a conical core that contains the striking platform(s).

Tradition - An established custom or long-held method of doing something.

Tranchet Blow - A type of percussion technique that removes a flake perpendicular to the face of a thin core, leaving behind a scar that resembles the surface of a transverse fracture or burin scar.

Transverse - Also: Lateral.  Perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of a core or stone tool.

Transverse Arrowhead - Also:  Transverse Projectile Point.  A finished point that has a chisel-like tip that is wider than the base.

Transverse Flake Pattern - Also: Transverse Flaking.  A series of flake scars that appear to run completely across the face of a stone tool.  The flake scars meet or overlap in the middle of the face and originate from both sides.

Transverse Fracture - A fracture originating at the edge of a thin core that travels to the opposite edge; causing the core to break apart.  A common manufacturing error.

Transverse Section - A cross section that is viewed from the edge or margin of a stone tool.

Truncation - A transverse breakage, usually near the tip or distal end of a core, that may or may not be intentional.

Turned Edge - A edge, modified by retouch and/or shearing, that is intentionally moved closer to one face of a thin core in preparation for flake removal.

Typology - The classification of stone tools according to technological or physical attributes.


U


Ubiquitous - Common and widespread.

Unidirectional Core - A thick core that has flakes removed in only one direction.

Unidirectional Flaking - Flaking that is performed in one direction and usually resulting in flakes running the full length or width of the core.

Uniface - Also: Unifacial.  A thin core or finished tool that has been reduced mainly on one face.  The unworked face is usually the ventral side of a large flake and exhibits secondary flake scars or retouch on less than 40% of its surface area.

Unilateral Parallel Flaking - A type of unidirectional flaking that produces relatively narrow flake scars spaced at a regular interval and close together.

Unipolar Fracturing - Also: Unipolar Flaking.  A type of lithic reduction that does not use an anvil to assist the percussion flaker or pressure flaker in detaching flakes.

Use-wear Analysis - Also: Microwear Analysis.  A method used to identify the function(s) of stone tools by closely examining their working surfaces.


V


Vein - A distinct sheetlike body of crystallized minerals within a rock that differs in texture and composition from the surrounding rock.

Ventral - The side of a newly detached and unmodified flake that shows the bulb of force.  As flakes are increasingly removed from both sides it becomes increasingly difficult to tell which side is ventral and, eventually, the designation is no longer needed or useful.

Vertex - The place where sides or facets meet to form a sharp projection or corner.

Vertical Punch - A punch that is struck on the end opposite the part touching the platform: in line with the longitudinal axis of the punch.  The tip of the punch experiences mainly compression forces.

Vibration Fracture - A transverse fracture caused by excessive bending, or "bowing", of a thin core due to vibrations from a sudden force or shock.  The fracture starts some distance away from the area of applied force.

Vitreous - The look of a newly fractured glass surface.  A glassy luster.

Vug - A small to medium-sized cavity inside a stone.  Vugs may be empty or partially filled by quartz, calcite, and other secondary minerals.


W


Wide Flake Pattern - Also: Wide Flaking.  Flake scars that are wide and relatively large for the size of the stone tool.  The pattern may be random or sequential.


X


X-ray Crystallography - A method used for determining the atomic and molecular structure of a crystal.

X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF) - An electronic device that bombards an object with high energy x-rays or gamma rays and then measures the emission of characteristic secondary (fluorescent) x-rays from the material(s) in the object to determine the elemental or chemical composition of the object. 


Z


Z-Flake Pattern - A distinctive, very rare, diagonal flaking pattern that has flakes running in the same direction across the point, from both sides, but offset in the middle to form a series of z-shaped scars.

Zooarchaeology - The study of animal remains, within an archaeological site, such as bones, antler, shells, hair, teeth, scales, hides, proteins and DNA.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 09:44:38 am by JackCrafty »
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it. :::.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
JackCrafty (youtube)

Where's the Rock?  Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How Do I Cook It?  Light Colors:  200°  for 24hrs, 400°  for 4hrs, Cool for 12hrs.

Offline JackCrafty

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Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2015, 07:04:16 am »
Expanded Definitions:

Spur - Also: Lip, Overhang, Beak, Hook.  A projection at the rim of a flake or core.  On a flake, a spur can exist on the ventral or dorsal side.  A spur can also be an intentionally constructed projection on the edge of a graver, scraper, or other flake tool.

Plunging Flake - Also: Diving Flake.  A flake that dives into the core material.  The flake may truncate the core, cause a transverse fracture, or break off (incomplete reverse hinge) leaving an incipient crack in the material.  Sometimes used interchangeably with the term *overshot flake*.  Plunging flakes can also be intentionally used to create a furrowed cross section.

New Term:

Furrow - A depression in the material of a finished workpiece that is shaped like a "V".  When seen on a base, the furrow gives the base or stem a "fishtail" appearance.  When seen on a cross section or face, the furrow appears to be a meeting of stepped or hinged flake scars initiated from one or both sides.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 04:02:00 am by jackcrafty »
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it. :::.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
JackCrafty (youtube)

Where's the Rock?  Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How Do I Cook It?  Light Colors:  200°  for 24hrs, 400°  for 4hrs, Cool for 12hrs.

Offline JackCrafty

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Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 08:41:32 am »
Corrections:

Collateral Flake Pattern - Also: Collateral Flaking.  A series of flake scars that run at roughly 90deg to the centerline, from each side, and meeting somewhere in the middle.

Diagonal Flake Pattern - Also: Diagonal Flaking, Oblique Flake Pattern, Oblique Flaking.  A series of flake scars that run at roughly 30° to 45° to the centerline, from each side, and meeting somewhere in the middle.  This may or may not create a median ridge on a stone tool.


Expanded Definitions:

Complex - An assemblage, belonging to a material culture, that regularly appears together in two or more sites within a phase (or horizon).  Also, this can be a tool technology that originates from, and remains within, one social culture.

Incipient Fracture - Also: Incipient Cone, WedgeA crack that has only partially penetrated into the core material.  These cracks can be created in a variety of ways but most often occur during percussion techniques.  Not to be confused with crazing or cracks caused by temperature changes.

Indirect Percussion - Placing pointed object (punch) on the core and striking it with a mallet to cause a fracture or to detach a flake.  A hammerstone can be used in place of the mallet, if desired.  Pressure can also be added to the punch before striking it (which is sometimes called "loading up").

Fracture Plane - Also:  Fracture Wave.  The surface created by a crack in a brittle material.  When this surface is exposed, it is often wavy and contains recognizable features like the bulb of force, for example.

Parallel Flake Pattern - Also: Parallel Flaking.  A series of relatively narrow flake scars that run close together and usually overlap.


New Terms:

Accidental Flaking - Flaking that has yielded an undesired result that is usually not beneficial.  Also, the flake scar may or may not show evidence that the flake was removed accidentally or in an unintended manner.  Artifacts that contain accidental flaking may represent either lack of skill and/or intentional lack of repair flaking.

Flake Scar Study - A type of tool surface analysis that focusses on the characteristics of flake scars (sometimes called "signatures") to determine the tool(s) and or method(s) of flake removal.

Horizon - A tool technology that is shared by two or more social or material cultures.

Natural Flaking - Flakes or flake scars caused by natural forces.

Opportunistic Flaking - Also:  Opportunistic Flake Removal.  Flaking that utilizes platforms that have not been intentionally isolated or individually refined in some way.  Usually performed on a large portion of an edge that has been smoothed, abraded, battered, or sheared in one action.  However, it can also be performed on unprepared edges or by utilizing fracture surfaces caused by natural forces.

Pass - Also:  Set.  The act of removing several flakes on one face, without interruption, and performed by striking several platforms along an entire edge that is usually prepared in advance.  A pass can be done with pressure or percussion and either randomly or with an orderly sequence.  As a side note, this is the typical method of flake removal, for all types of points, by the vast majority of modern knappers.

Repair Flaking - Flaking done for no other reason than to remove a flaw caused by a previous flake.  Also, the flake scar may or may not show evidence that the flake was removed for the purpose of eliminating a flaw.

Sequential Flaking - Also:  Serial Flaking.  A flake pattern created by removing flakes in sequence, with an intentionally minimized or reduced space in between flakes, for the purpose of thinning, retouching, re-sharpening, beveling, removing blades, and/or creating a cosmetically pleasing effect.  Sometimes the flakes overlap and utilize the arris created by the previous flake but this is not always the case.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 04:59:56 pm by JackCrafty »
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it. :::.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
JackCrafty (youtube)

Where's the Rock?  Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How Do I Cook It?  Light Colors:  200°  for 24hrs, 400°  for 4hrs, Cool for 12hrs.

Offline JackCrafty

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Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 07:54:09 am »
New Terms:

Quarry - A place where lithic material for tools has been removed from it's natural source.  The material may have been collected from the surface and/or mined.

Quarry Blank - A piece of lithic material that has been roughly shaped by the removal of one or more flakes and then transported away from it's natural source so that it can be worked further elsewhere.


Expanded Definitions:

Blank - Also:  Trade Blank, Cache Blade.  A preform, biface, or workpiece that is either set aside or carried until the owner wishes to finish it or trade it for something else.  The act of creating a blank means that there is an intentional pause in the reduction sequence.  All edges are knapped and cortex is minimal or not present.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 08:04:41 am by jackcrafty »
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it. :::.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
JackCrafty (youtube)

Where's the Rock?  Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How Do I Cook It?  Light Colors:  200°  for 24hrs, 400°  for 4hrs, Cool for 12hrs.

Offline Chippintuff

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Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2015, 09:11:25 am »
Patrick, this could be (is) a book. Thanks for all the work you do for the rest of us.

WA

Offline Zuma

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Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2015, 09:20:53 am »
A labor of LOVE.
Thank you Patrick
Zuma
If you are a good detective the past is at your feet. The future belongs to Faith.

Offline JackCrafty

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Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2015, 09:23:14 am »
 ;D

Thanks, and you're welcome.  Is it still considered a labor of love if you're addicted to the thing?
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 10:30:22 am by jackcrafty »
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it. :::.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
JackCrafty (youtube)

Where's the Rock?  Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How Do I Cook It?  Light Colors:  200°  for 24hrs, 400°  for 4hrs, Cool for 12hrs.

Offline JackCrafty

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  • Sorry Officer, I was just gathering "materials".
Re: Flintknapping Glossary of Terms
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2015, 03:54:06 pm »
Correction:

Anvil - Also: Counterstriker, Static Hammer.  An object of stone, bone, antler, or ivory, on which cores are placed to be broken, split, or fractured.  Anvils are either formed into a specific shape or carefully chosen for their shape and are stationary (placed on the ground, for example).

New Definition:

Static Punch - An object of stone, bone, antler, or ivory, on which cores are placed so that flakes can be detached with reverse indirect percussion.
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it. :::.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
JackCrafty (youtube)

Where's the Rock?  Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How Do I Cook It?  Light Colors:  200°  for 24hrs, 400°  for 4hrs, Cool for 12hrs.