Experimental Design and Experimental Inference in Stone Artifact Archaeology



Publication Details

Lin, S. C., Rezek, Z. & Dibble, H. L. (2018). Experimental Design and Experimental Inference in Stone Artifact Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 25 (3), 663-688.


Lithic researchers rely heavily on experimentation to infer past behaviors and activities based on stone artifacts. This paper explores the analogical nature of archaeological inference and the relationship between experimental design and inference validity in stone artifact experimentation. We show that actualistic flintknapping lacks vital aspects of scientific experimentation, and thus has inherent inferential issues of analogical adequacy and confidence. It is argued that a greater emphasis on hypothesis construction and variable control is needed in order to establish sound referential linkages upon which constructive analogic inferences about the past can be built.

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