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So, they don't all look alike.

>> Yes, to make lithics, you need the
some very particular properties and
First and foremost, you need a stone that
will fracture uniformly, or one of the
terms that we use is conchoidal fracture.
>> Okay.
>> The reason why is quite obvious is
mainly if I'm making a lithic and I
create a force with a pebble and I hit
the stone right here I want it to
fracture in a predictable way.
If it doesn't fracture in a predictable
way it can hurt you eh, it will not have
the shape that you want.
There's a lot of stuff that can go wrong.
>> Hurt you like blood?
>> Yes, blood cutting yourself, that's
the kind of stuff you have to deal with.
>> Alright.
>> so the proper, the main chemical
property that you need for this
uniformity is a predominance of silicon
dioxide in it.
The silicon dioxide just allows the
lithic to be fractured in a very uniform
way once ample force is applied to one of
its surfaces.
Now, there's a few different varieties
of, of, of raw materials that
archaeologists have to deal with and the
one thing they have in familiar, like I
said, is silicon dioxide.
>> Mm-hm.
>> There's three types of of lithic raw
materials that we deal with typically.
We have flint, chert and obsidian.
So, this is an obsidian core.
I'll talk about core in a second, right
>> Mm-hmm.
>> Obsidian is created through an
igneous process, igneous being it's, it's
created through the eruption of lava
coming, magma coming through the surface
sprouting out of a volcano, and that is
However, it is created under very special
Obsidian is a fast cooling stone.
So, unlike, say like quartz and, and
other materials which have big crystals
that you can see visibly.
>> Is it a stone, or is it glass?
It's a glass, but it's still classified
as a type of stone at the end of it.
>> Okay.
>> But since it's fast cooling, no
crystals are visually there.
Of course, there's crystals if we look at
them microscopically.
But there's a very smooth surface to it,
gives it this glass attribute as Sue is
pointing out.
And other type of, of material that we
frequently encounter is also chert.
The, there's a bit of a debate about the
difference between chert and flint.
And this is pretty much geographically
If you go to England chert is a bad
>> Right.
I've come across that.
>> If you come to the United States,
chert is everything and flint does not,
pretty much, exist.
>> It's interesting how the
vocabularies really vary not just in
terms of, of stone types either.
>> Yeah.
>> So.
>> But one of the distinctions that
geologists make that are quite useful, is
the chert is found within limestone,
within a sedimentary bed.
So, sedimentary deposition being the
formation of deposits over time that are
kind of squished together, and then they
become hard and solid.
>> And they get, they come out like
these nodules.
>> Yes so this right here on a wrapping
around the chert internally is what is
known as the cortex that the this is the
limestone skin that is still attached to
the, to the chert.
Chert, the, the chert deposition is
going to be small pockets that infiltrate
within the, the limestone beds.
So chert is found within limestone depo,
deposition- limestone sedimentary
>> Okay.
>> Flint, on the other hand, one of the
thinking's that geologists make is that
they are created within the metamorphic
So, metamorphic condition is when you
have it can be sedimentary or igneous in
origin, but then through pressure and
heat over time, the stone is transformed
into something else.
So, marble for example, used to be
limestone in the beginning.
>> Right.
>> It just, with the warping and the
heat over time.
>> We got some flint here or?
>> And we have some flint right here.
It's really, it's very much is a
determination based on where you're at.
If you have just chert or also limestone.
I think one of the useful distinctions to
make is it in a metamorphic origin or is
it of a sedimentary origin?
>> So you really need to know your
geology to understand.
>> Yes.
What available to people in the past.
>> Yes.
You cannot just be an archaeologist
without having a little bit of a sense of
the geology around you and that's a good
thing to have.
>> Okay.
>> There's plenty of other raw
materials that you can use.
All of these are limited in availibility.
You won't find them anywhere in space and
You have to find that good pocket of
geology that will yield these kinds of
materials, so.
>> That's why we get really excited
about this kind of thing.
Because if you find a piece of obsidian
or an obsidian tool, you know, thousands
of miles from where there's an obsidian
source, you, that's when we get into
talking about trade, contact, exchange.
So it's important to know where things
can be found and then where they end up.
Can you make stone tools out of glass?
>> You can make stone tools out of
>> I mean like Coke bottles?
>> It's a very good question.
So with, with some of the limited
availability issues that there are,
because of based on the geology.
In places such a Australia, we know that
Aborigines would pick up meteor glasses
in the desert.
>> How interesting.
>> Interesting, ok, huh.
>> And kind of use that to make
So, people always had this necessity to
make tools.
They need these to cut things, they need
to butcher things, they need to, you
know, cut down trees.
But they had to make do with what they
have in the landscape surrounding them.
So, here in Rhode Island, for example,
where we're located at, there is no
viable flint or obsidian or chert.
Native Americans had to pick up quartz
and quartz is that very, you know it has
a lot of granular little things in it.
>> Bumpy.
>> Yeah, it's not conchoidal, so it
doesn't work great, but they have to make
do with what they have.
>> Makes sense, or you spend your trade
in for better materials.
>> Exactly, or you go to a much sig,
more bigger distance across space, get
your stuff and come back and trade it
with someone else.
And that's one of the things that lithics
are so important for, to interpret the
archaeological record.