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Keywords:

  • fractals;
  • use-wear;
  • laser scanning confocal microscopy;
  • relative area;
  • quartzite

Summary

Although previous use-wear studies involving quartz and quartzite have been undertaken by archaeologists, these are comparatively few in number. Moreover, there has been relatively little effort to quantify use-wear on stone tools made from quartzite. The purpose of this article is to determine the effectiveness of a measurement system, laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM), to document the surface roughness or texture of experimental Mistassini quartzite scrapers used on two different contact materials (fresh and dry deer hide). As in previous studies using LSCM on chert, flint, and obsidian, this exploratory study incorporates a mathematical algorithm that permits the discrimination of surface roughness based on comparisons at multiple scales. Specifically, we employ measures of relative area (RelA) coupled with the F-test to discriminate used from unused stone tool surfaces, as well as surfaces of quartzite scrapers used on dry and fresh deer hide. Our results further demonstrate the effect of raw material variation on use-wear formation and its documentation using LSCM and RelA. SCANNING 35:28-39, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.