Technological organization and lithic microwear analysis: An alternative methodology

Kaoru Akoshima, Yoshitaka Kanomata

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The paper investigates Binford's concept of "organization of technology" in the context of lithic microwear analysis. A theoretical approach to technological organization will alleviate the current focus of use-wear analyses upon reconstruction of individual activities. Use-wear traces must be recognized as palimpsests, rather than traces from separate episodes, to address changes in cultural systems. When conventional methods of use-wear analysis are combined with spatial analysis of "living floors" (e.g., French "Paleo-ethnology") the data tend to orient toward spatial goals, making it difficult to evaluate organizational aspects of lithic utilization. An alternative strategy based on Binford's organizational approach is proposed. Microwear analysis on artifacts from the Paleoindian Mill Iron site in Montana, and case studies from Japanese prehistory, examine methods to evaluate lithic organization from use-wear data. These include curation versus expediency, local versus nonlocal dichotomy of raw materials, "multiple stage surface alteration," "multiple stage edge rounding," and accumulation of use-wear traces upon stone surface. The organizational approach to microwear also addresses the gap between wear patterns observed experimentally versus those observed on archaeological tools.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-24
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
    Publication statusPublished - 2015 May 1


    • Araya site
    • Japan
    • Lewis Binford
    • Lithics
    • Organization of technology
    • Use wear

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Human Factors and Ergonomics
    • Archaeology
    • History
    • Archaeology


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