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Flake scar patterns of Clovis points analyzed with a new digital morphometrics approach: evidence for direct transmission of technological knowledge across early North America
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science, ISSN 0305-4403, E-ISSN 1095-9238, Vol. 39, no 9, 3018-3026 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Clovis points are the principal diagnostic artifacts of a Clovis complex that spread across North America between ca. 11,050-10,800 radiocarbon years before present. Clovis may be the best documented Paleoamerican culture in North America, but much remains to be learned about the movement and interactions of Clovis peoples. Similarities among Clovis points from geographically diverse locations have led some researchers to suggest that a uniform projectile point technology existed across North America during Clovis times. Others have rejected this idea, proposing local and independent technological adaptations to different regional environments. To investigate these ideas, we used digital morphometrics to analyze 50 Clovis points from nine different contexts. First, 3D surface models of the points were created with a portable laser scanner. Next, these models were digitally cross-sectioned through both faces, yielding two-dimensional isoheight contours of flake scar patterns that reflect the original reduction techniques used to shape the projectile points. In the final step, the contours were transformed with elliptic Fourier analysis into Fourier coefficient series, and patterns of variation and symmetry were explored with principal components analysis. When compared to modern Clovis point replicas made by an expert knapper, the flake scar contours of the ancient Clovis points showed little morphological variation and a large degree of bifacial symmetry. Our results support the existence of a widespread standardized Clovis knapping technique, most likely transmitted through direct interaction between knappers from different groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 39, no 9, 3018-3026 p.
Keyword [en]
Lithic technology, Pleistocene, Paleoindians, 3D scanning, Contour analysis, Morphology
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Archaeology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81233DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.04.049ISI: 000306616000017OAI: diva2:561434


Available from: 2012-10-18 Created: 2012-10-15 Last updated: 2012-10-18Bibliographically approved

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Wärmländer, Sebastian K. T. S.
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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
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