Exploring the Interpretive Potential of Clovis Waste Flakes
Littlefield, Nancy V.
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Intent to publish separate papers.
This research examines the technology behind Clovis biface production from Clovis manufacturing areas at the Gault Site, Texas, (41BL323), with specific focus on flake striking platform preparation traits. Lithic analysts agree that platform bearing flakes retain clues into knapping technologies (Andrefsky 2005:86). Clovis experts agree that Clovis knappers invested effort before removing flakes by preparing platforms (Bradley, et al. 2010:66; Morrow 1995) for exerting control during biface manufacture, including mastering control of overshot flaking (Bradley 2010:466). Evidence shows that Clovis knappers were highly skilled in their craft and preferred high quality raw materials to manufacture their tools and frequently produced overshot flakes. While basic manufacturing traits are present, Clovis represents a complex bifacial reduction technology (Bradley, et al. 2010:64). The data here elucidates differences in the application of reduction techniques used by Clovis. These data reveal no set pattern in the application of platform preparation traits used by Clovis knappers, but identified trends in the use of preparing platforms in flake types and phases that highlight Clovis biface reduction sequences, which may have followed a systematic ‘template.’ Therefore, a consistent approach may have been used to produce Clovis bifaces, but individual platform preparation traits were not. In addition to this study, a supplemental study was conducted concerning the intentionality of Clovis overshot flaking. This separate study revealed these flakes regularly exhibit the removal of stacks, hinges, deep flake scars and other error traits. As such, overshot flakes were a technique that served a dual purpose of removing errors while simultaneously thinning the biface. This research has contributed to a greater understanding of Clovis biface technology reduction processes and flake removal techniques used at the Gault Site.
Bradley, Bruce A.
MPhil in Archaeology