An Objective Method for Identifying Heat-Treatment in Swan River Chert

  • Author / Creator
    Stewart, Peter Nicholas Bering
  • Current models for determining when stone artifacts have been heat- treated rely on subjective criteria such as colour and texture. While these criteria are not without their own merits, their subjective nature means that the actual amount of heat-treated material at an archaeological site may be over- or underestimated. This study provides a potential model for objectively identifying heat-treatment in Swan River Chert. The model utilizes a device called an optical profilometer to measure the topography of a flake’s ventral surface and is supported by an experimental protocol. The ability to determine objectively when lithics have been heat-treated has the potential to further our understanding of lithic acquisition and reduction strategies in Alberta. The identification model was applied to a series of experimentally heat-treated flakes as well as lithic material from eight archaeological sites in Alberta that date from the Middle to Late Prehistoric periods and it was discovered that heat-treated flakes have a smoother flake surface when compared to unheated flakes.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Anthropology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Ives, Jack (Anthropology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Nychka, John (Engineering)
    • Willoughby, Pamela (Anthropology)
    • Ives, Jack (Anthropology)
    • Gruhn, Ruth (Anthropology)