Symposium on Lithic Raw Material Sources

Tue, 29 Nov 1994 22:28:53 -0900

The great majority of lithic sources once exploited by the
prehistoric inhabitants of Alaska and the Yukon are still
unknown. This deficiency is not surprising when one considers the
vast unexplored areas of these regions. Unfortunately, this
situation has often led to speculations concerning the ultimate
origins of some of the materials encountered archaeologically.
Furthermore, it precludes the development of in depth systemic
studies related to procurement strategies, seasonal rounds,
population movements and trade. Archaeologists today are aware
that "where" a rock came from is as important as "what" was
fashioned from it. Without this critical information, researchers
find themselves stopped in their own analytical tracks being
unable to carry out more detailed studies.

The identification of lithic source areas is of paramount
importance for advancing knowledge about the archaeology of the
Western Arctic and Sub-Arctic. We believe that this joint
symposium and workshop will help fill some of the present gaps.
It is a first step in what is hoped to be an ongoing effort that
will eventually remedy this situation.


Papers from various academic fields focusing on lithic
procurement and sourcing are welcomed. As examples, these may
1-Ethnographic procurement strategies and/or trade
2-Laboratory techniques
3-Ongoing research
4-Prehistoric quarrying techniques
5-Raw material alterations (heat treatment, weathering etc.)
6-Discoveries of new lithic raw material sources
7-Current problems and research proposals


A specimen show room will be available to all who wish to display
lithic samples (geological and archaeological) from various
regions. A small explanatory poster (type of deposit, name of
material etc...) as well as a localization map should accompany
samples. Geologists are also invited to present posters
explaining the formation of fined grained lithic deposits such as
cherts/chalcedony, obsidian, ryholites etc. and where one might
expect to find them.

1-Familiarization with the diverse lithic samples and their
2-Initial macroscopic identification.
3-Distinction between specimens of various sources: primary
(outcrops and quarries) versus secondary sources (outwash
gravel and moraines).
4-Open new communication channels with geologists in the field.
5-Discuss the various physical and chemical lithic
characterisation tests used today and their archaeological

1-Maintain an ongoing dialogue with geologists.
2-Establishing a common nomenclature of the various lithic types.
3-Build and maintain an exhaustive reference collection that
would be deposited in several for consultation.
4-Compile research papers for an eventual publication.
5-Keep searching for new lithic sources.

Please submit proposals of no more than one page in length for
both symposium and/or workshop
on either Mac or Dos disk . Please include your university
department, field of specialization, name address and E-mail or
telephone number. DEADLINE JANUARY 20
Send proposals to:
AAA Lithic Sourcing
c/o Georges Pearson
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dept. of Anthropology
PO Box 757720
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7720
Tel: (907) 474-6756

Inquiries may be directed to the above address
or via E-mail to: FTGAP1@AURORA.ALASKA.EDU