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Lithic Assemblage

Lithic assemblage Though archaeologists analyze individual artifacts, they want to understand how they relate to other artifacts, from the scale of an excavation unit or feature up to the entire site and even the wider region. A group of related artifacts is called an assemblage. The artifacts might be from the same site, or part of a site, or made from the same material, such as lithics or ceramics. These lithic artifacts made of silicified sandstone all came from the same unit during investigations at a site in west-central Wisconsin. The top left is a projectile point tip and midsection that seems to have been beveled from resharpening. It could date to the Archaic tradition. The top center is a drill. The top right and whole bottom row are Madison Triangular points, which likely date to the Late Woodland tradition. They were part of the lithic assemblage, which also included debitage (waste flakes and tiny chunks or shatter from flintknapping), microdebitage (smaller flakes and shatter, typically less than ¼ inch), modified flakes, and cores in the same unit and other units at the site. Taken together, the artifacts in the lithic assemblage suggest people at the site were making stone tools from the early stages of production, as shown by cores, flakes, and modified flakes, to finished implements, indicated by flakes and microdebitage from fine work to finish the edges of tools.