Filling in the Blanks: Standardization of Lithic Flake Production Throughout the Stone Age
Standardization can be applied to a lithic assemblage via raw material selection, blank production, blank selection, and/or retouch. Here we explore the baseline level of morphological standardization achievable through blank production alone. By quantifying how little morphological variability is inherently involved in different blank-producing lithic technologies that span much of the Stone Age, we seek to gain a long-term perspective on the evolution of lithic standardization. 728 flakes were knapped from 26 cores of 7 different lithic technologies: bipolar, multiplatform, discoidal, Levallois, direct percussion prismatic blade, indirect percussion prismatic blade, and pressure prismatic blade. Using generalized Procrustes analyses of blank outlines, we observed three noticeable jumps in shape standardization: between bipolar and free-hand flaking, between flake and blade technologies, and between the percussive blade and pressure blade technologies. Technologies that involve more skill and more investment in core preparation appear to create a more standardized set of blanks.
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Hebrew University of Jerusalem