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Lithic artifact assemblage transport and micro-wear modification in a fluvial setting: a radio frequency identification tag experiment

Chu, W. and Hosfield, R. (2020) Lithic artifact assemblage transport and micro-wear modification in a fluvial setting: a radio frequency identification tag experiment. Geoarchaeology, 35 (4). pp. 591-608. ISSN 1520-6548

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/gea.21788

Abstract/Summary

River processes are widely assumed to have impacted the integrity of lithic assemblages when artifacts are found in fluvial sediments, but the specifics of these influences remain largely unknown. We conducted a real-world experiment to determine how the initial stages of fluvial entrainment affected lithic artifact assemblages. We inserted replica artifacts with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags into a gravel-bedded river in Wales (UK) for seven months and related their transport distances to their morphology and the recorded streamflow. Additionally, nine artifacts were recovered at the end of the experiment and analyzed for micro-wear traces. In sum, our results show that in a gravel bedded river with a mean discharge of 5.1 m3s-1, artifact length and width were the main variables influencing artifact transport distances. The experiment also resulted in characteristic micro-wear traces developing on the artifacts over distances of 485 m or less. These results emphasize the multifaceted nature of alluvial site formation processes in a repeatable experiment and highlight new ways to identify the transport of replica Paleolithic material.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:89108
Publisher:Wiley

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