Raw Material Availability and the Organization of Technology
Andrefsky, William, Jr.
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Ethnographic examples of stone-tool makers in Australia and archaeological examples from three different areas in the western United States indicate that the availability of lithic raw materials is an important variable conditioning stone-tool production technology. Attributes of availability such as abundance and quality of lithic raw materials condition the production of formal- vs. informal-tool types. Poor-quality raw materials tend to be manufactured into informal-tool designs. High-quality lithic raw materials tend to be manufactured into formal tool designs when such materials occur in low abundance. When high-quality materials occur in great abundance both formal- and informal-tool designs are manufactured. Other factors, such as residential mobility or sedentism, are found to be less-important determinates of lithic-production technology.