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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Flaked Stone Basalt Technology in the Northern Sierra Nevada of California


A replicative experimental study was carried out with the intention of elucidating the best technological strategies for producing Middle Archaic basalt projectile points and bifaces. This work led to an appreciation of the difficulties of working with Sierran basalts, as well as an admiration for the skills of Middle Archaic knappers. The study shows that, despite the technical challenges, expediency was not the sine qua non of Middle Archaic technology in the northern Sierra Nevada, and provides insight into regional archaeological assemblages.

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