Microwear Analysis of a Sample of 100 Chipped Stone Artifacts from the 1971-1977 Ohio Historical Society Excavations at the Seip Earthworks

By Yerkes, Richard W. | Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, MCJA, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

Microwear Analysis of a Sample of 100 Chipped Stone Artifacts from the 1971-1977 Ohio Historical Society Excavations at the Seip Earthworks


Yerkes, Richard W., Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, MCJA


Abstract

A sample of 100 lithic artifacts from seven excavation blocks at the Seip Earthworks was examined for microwear traces. None of the artifacts from Block VII had any microwear traces, but one third of the artifacts from the otber six blocks were used for 35 different tasks. All of the drills, bifaces, and scrapers, as well as 60% of the points, 11% of the cores, 50% of the core rejuvenation flakes, 15% of the bladelets, and 3% of the flakes were examined. Most of the utilized Hopewell artifacts were used on fresh hide and/or meat and bone (32%) or dry hide (26%). Seven artifacts were used on bone, stone, or shell (20%), and two tools were used to work bone or ander (6%). Only one Hopewell artifact was used to cut plants or soft wood (3%). The rest of the utilized artifacts in the Seip sample are probably not associated with the Hopewellian occupations. The tools seem to have been used in an expedient fashion. There was no evidence for specialized activities in any of the Seip structures. Almost all of the lithic artifacts were found in secondary contexts. The range of identified activities is consistent with microwear results from other Hopewell sites, but plant processing and wood-working are underrepresented.

The artifacts in a sample of 100 of the 1,327 chipped stone artifacts from the 1971-1977 Ohio Historical Society (OHS) excavations at the Seip Earthworks were examined for microwear traces to determine if they had been utilized, find the location of any use wear, identify the type of worked material, and interpret their functions. This was accomplished by applying the method of microwear analysis developed by Semenov (1964) and modified by Keeley (1980), which includes examination of micropolishes, striations, and damage scars that form on the edges of chipped stone tools when they are used to perform specific tasks (cutting, scraping, etc.) on certain types of materials (bone, wood, hide, etc.). Examination is conducted at low-power with a stereo-microscope at magnifications between 6x and 50x, and at high-power under incident light at magnifications ranging between 50? and 1500x (Yerkes and Kardulias 1993).

Both the low-power and high-power techniques provide information on tool use, but low-power examination does not allow the analyst to discriminate between different types of worked materials. The only method that provides a means to that end is the high-power incident light technique. Microwear analysis techniques have been modified over the years, but Keele/s observations on the morphological and textural variation in microwear traces have been verified, extended, and adjusted by more than 30 independent researchers (Gijn 1990; Juel Jensen 1988; Kimball 1994; Vaughan 1985; Yerkes and Kardulias 1993).

Prior to the microwear analysis, the artifacts were xeroxed, and their greatest length, width, and thickness were measured. The artifacts were examined with a stereomicroscope to determine their condition and to see if there were any residues present (none were seen). Then the implements were cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner with "Top Job" detergent and examined for use wear traces under incident light (see Gijn 1990; Keeley 1980; and Yerkes 1987 for details on techniques of microscopic examination). The functions of the artifacts were determined by matching their microwear traces with use wear patterns on replicas in a reference collection of 170 experimental tools made of 12 different chert types, including many heat-treated replicas.

The Seip Sample

The Seip artifacts came from seven excavation units (Blocks I through VTI) that each contained a square or rectangular, single or double post structure with rounded corners (Baby and Langlois 1977, 1979). The structures lined up on an east-west axis about halfway between the central Seip-Pricer mound and the northern wall of the large semi-circular earthen enclosure (Baby and Langlois 1979; Greber 1997: Figure 8.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Microwear Analysis of a Sample of 100 Chipped Stone Artifacts from the 1971-1977 Ohio Historical Society Excavations at the Seip Earthworks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.