The OSA’s Lithic Raw Material Assemblage is focused on expanding the assemblage and following four areas of research. The first is to address several geological association issues involving the designation of lithic materials and the specific formations or members they originate from. The second is to capture x20 power microscopic images of our entire lithic assemblage for a complete microscopic comparative section as noted above. The third area is the production of geologic thin sections of lithic samples. Six Pennsylvanian System samples are currently being processed for use in our assemblage as a result of collaborative research. Thin sections will provide the opportunity to study crystalline and optical characteristics of lithics and is a standard geologic analysis tool. And fourth, we are investigating the use of the University of Iowa’s Scanning Electron Microscope (UI-SEM). The University of Iowa’s Central Microscopy Research Facility (CMRF) provides Scanning Electron Microscope instrumentation and technical assistance. Using a Hitachi S 3400N we will be engaging in research to assess the viability of SEM application to the Lithic Raw Material Assemblage during the coming year. Results will be posted to this web page for all four of these areas of research as the data becomes available.

Macroscopic lithic analysis is a given in archaeological research and a collection of physical samples, geologically organized and geographically well documented, is a must. It is our belief that this assemblage will provide that resource. Since prehistoric artifact assemblages are so often dominated by lithic materials, a well-developed comparative assemblage could afford researchers the opportunity to address a myriad of issues including but not limited to trade, carrying capacity, the movement of people, and social interactions. The physical, geological, and geographical revision/reorganization of this assemblage are housed at the OSA lab, The University of Iowa. The web-based manifestation makes the OSA Lithic Raw Material Assemblage accessible from any place, throughout the Midwest, or even worldwide.

In 2006, we presented a poster paper detailing our lithic raw material assemblage which was prepared for the 34th Annual Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference held at North Dakota State University. The poster is available here in a PDF format (Figure 10). It will provide a comprehensive review of our efforts in designing a better framework for archaeological lithic raw material analysis.

Figure 10. PDF poster paper describing the OSA Lithic Raw Material Assemblage
Figure 10. PDF Poster paper describing the OSA Lithic Raw Material Assemblage (2006).  
Click here to download a PDF version.

If you have any additional questions or comments about this page, or would like to discuss lithics with the authors, please feel free to contact either Mark or Dan.

We would appreciate hearing from you.