Replicability in Lithic Analysis

Justin Pargeter, Alison Brooks, Katja Douze, Metin Eren, Huw S. Groucutt, Jessica McNeil, Alex MacKay, Kathryn Ranhorn, Eleanor Scerri, Matthew Shaw, Christian Tryon, Manuel Will, Alice Leplongeon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The ubiquity and durability of lithic artifacts inform archaeologists about important dimensions of human behavioral variability. Despite their importance, lithic artifacts can be problematic to study because lithic analysts differ widely in their theoretical approaches and the data they collect. The extent to which differences in lithic data relate to prehistoric behavioral variability or differences between archaeologists today remains incompletely known. We address this issue with the most extensive lithic replicability study yet, involving 11 analysts, 100 unmodified flakes, and 38 ratio, discrete, and nominal attributes. We use mixture models to show strong inter-analyst replicability scores on several attributes, making them well suited to comparative lithic analyses. Based on our results, we highlight 17 attributes that we consider reliable for compiling datasets collected by different individuals for comparative studies. Demonstrating this replicability is a crucial first step in tackling more general problems of data comparability in lithic analysis and lithic analyst's ability to conduct large-scale meta-analyses.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)163-186
    Number of pages24
    JournalAmerican Antiquity
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 12 2023


    • attribute analysis
    • inter-analyst replicability
    • stone tools

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Archaeology
    • Museology


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