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  • Lithic reduction questions

    I've got so many questions...

    Can anyone point me to good info on history of knapping?

    Most interested to know the historical progression or chronology of techniques.

    Particularly the relationship between percussion flaking and pressure flaking.

    Have both techniques always co-existed?

    I think I remember reading that percussion was first and pressure was a later innovation.

    But then I think of Clovis and other Paleo stuff that has pressure flaking, so that can't be so.

    Anyhow, I'd like to be able to understand my artifacts better so am trawling for links and knowledge.


    I think pressure flaking was used to finish this point...

    Click image for larger version

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    I think this point is percussion flake only.

    Click image for larger version

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    Am I right?


  • #2
    Probably should of put it in the knap site of the forum but if Johnny sees this he could answer your questions. I myself don’t know the terms. It’s a nice piece I do like the flaking on it

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    • #3
      The book below is a start. To answer your question, see Cushing's description of the process starting on page 390. Without getting too mired in the exact details, his overall progression of the steps is a good model. That site is a little glitchy, so if you want to move around in the book, use the slide bar on the bottom.

      https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?...ew=1up&seq=390

      While percussion knapping came before pressure flaking in the evolution of hominid tool making, by the time people got to the Americas the process was fully evolved with only minimal tweaks added, so the expectation is that all New World knapping should show the gamut of possible techniques.

      Of the pieces you show, the second looks percusion knapped but then abandoned prior to getting it thin enough, probably due to some defect of the material. The first has at least one clearly pressure flaked edge (although that could also be done by indirect percussion) so was likely a finished tool such as a hand held knife.

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      • #4
        I've wondered too, found this interesting.
        http://www.lithiccastinglab.com/gall...punchpage1.htm
        Last edited by Rio Del Norte; 10-06-2019, 10:22 AM.
        Don't take for granted your lifetime membership to this planet.

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        • tomf
          tomf commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the link.

          I didn't know about the 'rocker-punch' technique, so that's great info.

      • #5
        The difference is quite easy to see.
        Professor Shellman

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        • #6
          Originally posted by Quartzite Keith View Post
          The book below is a start. To answer your question, see Cushing's description of the process starting on page 390. Without getting too mired in the exact details, his overall progression of the steps is a good model. That site is a little glitchy, so if you want to move around in the book, use the slide bar on the bottom.

          https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?...ew=1up&seq=390

          While percussion knapping came before pressure flaking in the evolution of hominid tool making, by the time people got to the Americas the process was fully evolved with only minimal tweaks added, so the expectation is that all New World knapping should show the gamut of possible techniques.

          Of the pieces you show, the second looks percusion knapped but then abandoned prior to getting it thin enough, probably due to some defect of the material. The first has at least one clearly pressure flaked edge (although that could also be done by indirect percussion) so was likely a finished tool such as a hand held knife.
          Thanks, Keith.

          That's a fantastic link which I'm looking forward to reading cover-to-cover.

          As far as chronology of knapping in Americas, I guess the Paleo finds prove that pressure-flaking was here from the start, but I think it wasn't universally adopted by all people at all times.

          The stuff I find in Napa is often percussion-flake only, like this second point (that I strongly believe was finished and used).

          Same for the little dart point I found yesterday.

          So, in my opinion, the refinement of pressure flaking moved in and out of fashion.

          Not sure if pressure-flaked finds are contemporary to percussion finds, or not.

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