Reading Stone Tools (ARC2506A)

StaffProfessor Bruce Bradley - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level5
Pre-requisitesARC1010, ARC1040
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module will outline the theory and practice of lithic analysis within archaeology, giving basic practical competence in the technique and a practical appreciation of observation, recording and interpretation issues. Stone tools form an enduring and extensive source of archaeological evidence. Their location in relation to source, is used as evidence for landscape exploitation and exchange, whilst the surface scars and wear can be used to interpret technology, use and artefact histories. All these show what people were doing and how their societies were organised. The course will be a mixture of theories and practice, centred on gaining the skill of interpreting stone tools.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. know the theoretical and practical issues of lithic analysis and understand how these may be applied
  • 2. know and use the terms and conventions in describing stone tools
  • 3. demonstrate basic competence in identification of stone artefacts
  • 4. prepare and interpret primary data under guidance
  • 5. synthesise the results of lithic analysis into a report

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. provide a competent overview and use of practical data and its acquisition.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. assimilate numerical and graphical data
  • 8. contribute to group presentations using appropriate visual aids
  • 9. respond to comments in discussion

Syllabus plan

Raw materials (intro & practical).  Practical tool use experiments. Technologies (intro, video & practical). Practical: taphonomy & identifications. Fieldtrip to Beer to collect flint. Seminar: assemblage analysis. Typologies (seminar and practicals). Practical: assemblage analysis. Knapping practical and debitage analysis. Practical assemblage analysis. Overview and surgery.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities24Practicals (8x3hrs)
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2Seminars (2x1hr)
Scheduled learning and teaching activities8Fieldtrip (1x8hrs)
Guided independent study116Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical Report200 words, 2 figures, 1 table and brief bibliography1-9verbal tutorial

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Assemblage report653000 words1-9mark and written comments
Typology quiz3575 minutes in class1-4, 6-9mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Assemblage reportAssemblage report1-9ref/def period
Typology quizTypology quiz1-4, 6-9ref/def period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Andrefsy, W. 1998 (2 nd edition 2005) Lithics: Macroscopic Approaches to Analysis Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Barton, N. 1997 Stone Age Britain (chapter 1) London: English Heritage Edmonds , M. 1995 Stone Tools and Society: Working Stone in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain London: Batsford Pitts, M. 1983. Later Stone Implements. Shire Publications. Waddington, C. (2005) The Joy of Flint, Newcastle-on-Tyne: Museum of Antiquities. Whittaker, J.C. 1994 Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools Austin: University of Texas Young, R.and J. Humphrey 1999 Flint use in England after the bronze Age: Time for a re-evaluation? Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 65: 231-242.

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Key words search

Lithics, Stone Age