Using Debitage Analysis to Investigate an Alberta Archaeological Site

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Jennifer Hallson


Ahai Mneh (FiPp-33) is a significant pre-contact archaeological site in Alberta. Located west of Edmonton on Lake Wabamun, this site contains material from the Early Prehistoric right up until Late Prehistoric pre-contact times. Ninety-five percent of the lithic artifacts collected are pieces of debitage. Aggregate analysis is a method of examining the whole of the debitage collection, rather than analysing singular pieces. This method is more time efficient, less subject to bias, replicable, and is used often, and successfully, at archaeological sites with immense quantities of debitage. Here I use aggregate analysis to examine the debitage assemblage from two field schools at Ahai Mneh. I investigate various characteristics such as size, raw material type, cortex amount, and number of dorsal scars. I argue that this method is successful, as it provided new information on where people were acquiring raw materials, as well as what types of flintknapping occurred at this site. These analyses resulted in the determination of a focus on local raw material, yet this material was being brought to the site as prepared cores or blanks, rather than complete unaltered cores. Tool production was the focus at this site, and this trend continued throughout time.

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