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Michael F. Rondeau and Vicki L. Rondeau

Appendix 2 of Pitted Stones from CA-SLO-697 and CA-SLO-762, Cambria, San Luis Obispo County, California, by Gary S. Breschini and Trudy Haversat

Contents:    Introduction
Research Goals
Research Questions
Research Framework
Research Methods

This report is previously unpublished. It is from a project completed in 1993.


The activities involving flaked stone at CA-SLO-762 included the manufacture of flakes from cores, bifaces, and larger flakes. Bifaces were manufactured by percussion thinning of flakes and a limited number of tabular cobbles of Monterey chert. Bifaces were made into projectile points. Some use damaged points were rejuvenated while others were replaced, the spent pieces reworked as small cores or simply discarded. Some flakes were used as simple tools without modification. Other flakes were shaped before use and/or had their working edges rejuvenated. A limited number of drills were also made and used. The cores were abandoned on-site. Unfinished bifaces broken during manufacture were also discarded on-site. It appears that many of the casual flake tools were probably abandoned when tasks requiring their use were completed.

The range of lithic-based activities indicated in this collection saw manufacturing of flakes by direct freehand percussion, bipolar percussion, and radial break percussion. Bifaces were thinned by direct freehand percussion. Points were finished and rejuvenated by pressure flaking. Flake tools were shaped and rejuvenated by percussion and pressure flaking techniques. Retouched and expedient flake tools were probably used in a number of manufacturing and maintenance tasks. Without residue analysis and high power microscopy, the range of these uses cannot be suggested.

These findings were based on data generated by the analysis of the flaked stone assemblage from CA-SLO-762. The flaked stone totaled 3,763 specimens. These included debitage (n=3,560), intentionally modified flakes (n=52), cores (n=49), incidentally modified flakes (n=47), unfinished bifaces (n=30), as many as 21 artifacts possibly representing fragmentary projectile points, and five drills. One artifact was counted as both a biface fragment and as an intentionally modified flake due to its complex use-life history.

Use wear was identified on all five drill tips, on 28 edges of 23 intentionally modified flakes, on 34 edges of 24 incidentally modified flakes, and on the working edge of a uniface tool that had been made from a biface fragment. Four points showed impact damage and two had clear evidence of rejuvenation. Two points were reworked by radial break percussion and one by bipolar percussion.

This report details the analytical goals, framework, methods, findings, and interpretations of the lithic analysis conducted on the flaked stone assemblage from CA-SLO-762. The collection was recovered during April 1993 by Archaeological Consulting of Salinas. Appreciation is expressed for the encouragement received from Gary Breschini during this study.


The main goal of this study was to develop data towards understanding prehistoric behavioral systems. Lithic analysis, in defining extant technological attributes, can achieve two important goals in characterizing any flaked stone assemblage. First, the analysis serves to filter out behaviorally undiagnostic attributes of morphology. Second, it allows for the inference of behaviors, patterns of behavior, and ultimately systems of behavior involving procurement, manufacture, transport, curation, maintenance, use, and discard as reflected in the flaked stone assemblage.

Behaviors, as used above, are reflected at the individual artifact level. A repeated behavior or a variety of behaviors may be evident on a single artifact. Patterns of behavior are reflected at the site level by flaked stone assemblages where the same activities (behaviors) reoccurred as a series of separate events. Variations in degree or kind for these patterns may be evident for a single time period, though time, or for spatially discrete site areas. The patterns of behavior are reconstructed from sets of behavioral inferences represented by groups of artifacts. These inferences constitute the findings of this report.

Systems of behavior are reflected at the regional or extra regional level across a series of sites and their assemblages. Therefore, contributions such as this study, toward the establishment of an adequate data base, are arguably the first step towards this higher order goal of elucidating behavioral systems.


Given the goals of this study, a series of research questions were asked about the flaked stone assemblage in terms of the kinds of behaviors that might be inferred. A second set of research questions testing methods and assumptions of lithic analysis were also asked. These questions then served as indicators of the kinds of data that would have to be extracted from the assemblage if behavioral inferences and methodological insights were to be derived. In turn, these information needs were used to dictate the study methods that could adequately generate the required data.

The research questions regarding prehistoric behaviors were:

The questions regarding methodological issues in lithic analysis were:

Given the research questions for this study, two aspects of the process of identifying technological attributes were pivotal to the analysis. First, the attributes to be identified needed to have the potential for redundancy. Second, the attributes needed to be assignable to behavioral correlates of high probability.

Identification of redundancy can establish patterns in the flaked stone record. These patterns can be inferred as having resulted from repeatedly occurring activities; specifically attributable to the prehistoric people who manufactured, used, broke, rejuvenated, and discarded the materials (Longacre 1974:54-55). However, such forces as erosion, rodents, and human activity can intervene to subtly or drastically alter archaeological patterns so that the relationship between past behaviors and the recovered record were not always direct (Schiffer 1976:ix).

Technological attributes to which behavioral correlates can be assigned may, within limits, withstand some intervening pattern distortions since they were literally set in stone. The assignment of behavioral correlates to technological attributes requires that their diagnostic elements be shown to discriminate specific activities from other similar actions. Further, for these behavioral correlates to be unambiguous, it must be demonstrable in a "contemporary setting" that the agent producing these diagnostic attributes was clearly recognizable (Binford 1983:417-418).

Flintknapping studies have proven, when properly applied, to be the most reliable demonstration indicating the prehistoric agents responsible for the redundant and unambiguous patterns that occur in the prehistoric flaked stone record (Callahan 1979; Crabtree 1972, 1973; Flenniken 1980; Muto 1971). These identified attribute patterns have been found to vary according to the techniques of production and the stages of reduction represented.

However, "For an inference about the past to be of high probability, an additional proposition must be met--that the same relationship [was: brackets mine] obtained in the past as obtained in the present" (Binford 1983:418-418). This caveat has been at the core of criticism about technological analyses that claim to be based on the actual replication of prehistoric behaviors. Even while dissecting the poor logic of such replication claims, Thomas acknowledges that "Modern flintknappers can (and should) contribute handily toward archaeological studies of hunter-gathers by defining sets of unambiguous signatures that translate the statics of prehistoric stone tools to the dynamics that produced them" (Thomas 1986:248).

Actual replication, however, is not required. A reasonable approximation of the past agents that produced the technological attributes is sufficient to allow the development of behavioral correlates that can provide an acceptable level of inference about archaeological collections. This analysis, based on such approximations, must still meet certain considerations required of all good archaeology.

Among these considerations, which stand as interpretative controls applied to this study, are: 1) a consideration of the nature of the flaked stone sample (its size and manner of selection) in terms of how it influences interpretations; 2) using the technological data to test the flintknapping-derived-concepts that propose the interpretative relationships between technological attributes and past behaviors (rather than just interpreting the data according to those concepts as if it had been assumed in advanced that they were proven to fit the data); and 3) recognizing that prehistoric lithic technology is not completely understood, our current methods of data recovery and analysis insufficient to completely recover, let alone recognize the full range of flaking techniques, stone uses, and other past behaviors that some flaked stone collections represent.


The study methods involved both debitage analysis and a study of all modified, flaked stone artifacts. The debitage analysis compiled technological, sizing, and material type data on the recovered debitage.

The analysis of the modified artifacts identified technological attributes, morphological characteristics, and raw material types for all specimens. For the CA-SLO-762 collection these artifact classes included points, unfinished bifaces, cores, drills, intentionally modified flakes, and incidentally modified flakes.

Technological Debitage Analysis

Debitage has been defined as "residual lithic material resulting from tool manufacture. Useful to determine techniques and for showing technological traits" (Crabtree 1972:58). Debitage includes the flakes, flake fragments, and angular waste that were the by-products of stone tool manufacture. Repeated observations during flintknapping studies have demonstrated that chipping waste reflects the entire manufacturing process. Thus debitage comprises the most informative data set for the understanding of lithic technologies (Crabtree 1972, 1975).

This study relied on a tabulation of debitage types defined by attributes diagnostic of various flaking techniques and stages of reduction. The methodological goal was to maximize behavioral inferences in the data generated. This was done by seeking technological attributes to which behavioral correlates, recognized during various flintknapping studies, could reasonably be applied (Crabtree 1972, 1973; Flenniken 1980; Magne and Pokotylo 1981; Muto 1971).

The debitage types recorded by this study included: 1) flakes retaining a biface edge; 2) flakes with cortex; 3) angular waste; 4) flakes with single-facet striking platforms; 5) flakes with multiple-facet striking platforms that cannot be shown to be biface edge remnants; and 6) bipolar flakes. These debitage types are discussed below.

The biface edged flake retains a portion of the edge of the biface from which it was struck. This attribute serves as evidence of biface manufacture. The percentage of such pieces in the collection will allow inferences about the intensity of biface production at the site and the stages represented (Rondeau 1982a).

Both cortex flakes and angular waste are often diagnostic of direct freehand percussion manufacture of flakes from cores. The absence of attributes indicating specialized primary reduction strategies or techniques, such as percussion blade production or bipolar percussion, constitutes additional support for the assignment of this technique as the method of primary reduction. These debitage types can also result from other flaking activities such as the beginning stage of thinning a flake blank into a biface.

Single-facet platform flakes are also often indicative of primary reduction by direct freehand percussion although these were also produced during the initial edging and early thinning stages of biface manufacture, especially if the early stages were pursued by flaking onto only the dorsal surface. Another source of this flake type was the rejuvenation of some unifaces.

The multiple-facet platform flake is generally indicative of biface manufacture (Sullivan and Rosen 1985), but they can also be produced during direct freehand percussion and uniface rejuvenation.

Bipolar flakes exhibit the application of force at both ends. The evidence at opposing ends may include, but was not limited to bulbs of force, ripples, radiating force lines, and crushed striking platforms at both ends (Rondeau 1987). In some collections the flakes and cores resulting from bipolar percussion grade from one into the other.

Two other flake types, although extremely rare in this collection, were the uniface rejuvenation flake and the radial break percussion flake. In the results section, these two flake types were discussed under related formed artifact types.

Uniface rejuvenation flakes result from the rejuvenation of unifacial tools, most by percussion retouch (Frison and Bradley 1980:31; Shafer 1970). Frison has identified this debitage as "scraper retouch flakes" (1967, 1968). Three methods of unifacial rejuvenation have been identified by Shafer (1970:481), each producing a different type of uniface retouch flake. These three types were those struck off of the dorsal surface, those struck off the ventral surface, and those which were struck parallel to and removed a linear portion of the uniface edge. All three types have been identified in a collection from the central Sierran foothills (Rondeau and Rondeau 1990).

Radial break flakes are flakes or artifact fragments purposely broken by force applied by percussion or indirect percussion to the surface of either the dorsal or ventral face of the flake. Radial break flakes were manufactured to create both edges and tips for use (Frison and Bradley 1980). Attributes common to this flake type include: 1) a pie wedge-like outline (the tip of the wedge indicating the location of the blow); 2) edges perpendicular to the artifact faces; 3) ripples evident on the perpendicular edges, emanating from the tip in a perverse break-like pattern with the long side of the ripples along the bottom of the perpendicular edge and the upward curve of the ripples at the end opposite the tip; 4) spontaneous retouch may also occur along the bottom margin of the perpendicular edge through contact with an anvil; and 5) spontaneous retouch may also occur onto the flake face to which force was applied. This spontaneous retouch occurs on the flake margin opposite the wedge tip. Especially on flakes, this retouch can form a concave modified edge.

The debitage types, as well as the sizing information, were sorted by material type in order to determine whether flaking techniques, reduction stages, and/or end products differed by material.

Size Class Debitage Analysis

As with the technological analysis, sizing had its methodological basis in flintknapping studies. Debitage produced by biface thinning exhibited a systematic size reduction curve (Patterson 1983:70), with a majority of the pieces in the smallest size class, the second largest number of flakes in the next larger size, and so on. Patterson (1983) contended that this size reduction curve remains the same regardless of the number of bifaces contributing to the debitage and that it also remains constant for each stage of biface reduction. Various studies (Gunn, Mahula, and Sollberger 1976; Henry, Haynes, and Bradley 1976; Newcomer 1971; Patterson and Sollberger 1978; Stahle and Dunn 1983) identified this distribution curve even when different sets of size classifications were used and regardless of whether square or round holes were used for size measurements.

In spite of some support for this analytical technique (Patterson 1983), a number of potential problems with size class analysis have been recognized (Stahle and Dunn 1983:94). Their concern for technologically mixed collections has proved well founded. It has been the author's experience that the biface debitage size curve for collections dominated by biface manufacturing flakes often masks the presence of other flaking techniques that were numerical minorities in the collection. One example shall suffice. At CA-COL-61 the obsidian was primarily from biface thinning and the curve agreed with this even though direct freehand percussion manufacture of flakes from cores, bipolar percussion reworking of both flakes and bifaces as well as the pressure flaking and notching of bifaces were also evident in the debitage (Rondeau 1990).

Even so, several studies have suggested that primary flake manufacture from cores and similar flaking activities such as the manufacture of crude cobble tools, was sometimes evidenced by a size curve that had its numerical peak in the next to smallest (1 cm) size class. This appears to have occurred most often when the toolstone was of a hard, more resistant quality (Dondero 1983; Rondeau and Rondeau 1990).

However, totally erroneous identification of biface debitage collections can occur through the use of only size analysis. Quartz debitage collections from at least three sites in the Central Sierra Nevada exhibited the "biface" size curve even though they appeared to be almost totally produced by bipolar percussion. These similar appearing size curves were thought to be, in part, a function of the small size of the original pebbles (Rondeau and Rondeau 1989).

Size analysis isolated from other analytical approaches has not only the potential to mask minority flaking techniques, but also to misidentify entire debitage collections not produced by biface manufacture. Size analysis has also failed to correctly identify an archaeological collection of biface thinning flakes that had the smaller fraction specimens removed by erosional forces (Rondeau 1989). Therefore, interpretation of size class data will be subordinate to the technological findings.

A set of circles plotted on cardboard that measured 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 centimeters in diameter were used; the size of each flake from the sample units determined by the circle through which it could not pass, except for those passing through the one centimeter circle. The size classes that resulted were: three millimeters (1/8 inch screen capture), one, two, three, and four centimeters with the last class being five centimeters and larger.

Modified Artifact Analysis

This part of the analysis focused on the modified or formed, flaked stone artifacts. Morphological and technological attributes that would provide data towards the understanding of their manufacture, use, maintenance, and discard were recorded. The classes of flaked stone artifacts included in this portion of the study were the points, unfinished bifaces, cores, drills, intentionally modified flakes, and incidentally modified flakes. Each class of artifacts was also divided into the toolstone types from which they were made in an attempt to identify other variations in manufacture, use, and discard.

Bifaces: This analysis included the study of the finished and unfinished pieces. Crabtree simply defined a biface as an "Artifact bearing flake scars on both faces" (1972:38). The biface analysis was broken down into two categories; the finished and unfinished. The finished specimens can include such artifact types as projectile points, knives, and drills. The unfinished bifaces, as discussed below, fall into Trajectory One biface manufacturing.

For the finished artifacts, two general categories were recognized in this collection; projectile points and drills. The analysis sought to define point types where possible, along with their technological characteristics such as the methods and strategies by which they were flaked, the original form of the stone prior to flaking, evidence of impact damage, rejuvenation, refabrication into other tool forms, and reuse as small cores. For the drills, observations were tabulated regarding their original forms, methods and strategies by which they were flaked, and evidence of use. The drill artifact data is presented in a separate table (Table 4) from the rest of the bifaces (Table 3). A discussion of the methods of use wear analysis is provided below following this review of the analytical artifact categories.

Although preforms (stage five), for this study, were recognized as having been potentially serviceable as projectile points, they were incorporated into the unfinished biface class. All specimens that may have been finished bifaces, but were not clearly completed, were nevertheless incorporated into the projectile point class discussed above.

For the unfinished pieces, sorting by toolstone types was also undertaken. The original form of each specimen, when identifiable, was noted along with the methods and strategies by which they were flaked, their assigned manufacturing stage, and their whole or fragmentary condition. This work was based on the recognition that the manufacture of bifacial artifacts during most of California's prehistory proceeded through a series of reduction stages. This model of sequential biface percussion thinning and shaping stages has been termed Trajectory One.

These stages sometimes occurred at more than one site as the aboriginal flintknappers moved away from the source of the raw material (Rondeau 1982b). This means that a different stage or stages of biface manufacturing may be in evidence for each material type represented at any given site. Further, for highly mobile peoples, curated, unfinished bifaces may have served as heavy duty tools and as cores for the manufacture of expedient flake tools (Kelly 1988). Such uses did not necessarily preclude the later manufacture of such pieces into projectile points or other finished forms.

Manufacture of a percussion thinned biface in California usually began with an unmodified flake (commonly referred to as a flake blank). In a few cases a whole cobble or a tabular chunk quarried from a geologic stratum was flaked directly into a biface. In some cases initial edging (creation of a bifacial edge), often by alternate percussion flaking, was the first stage of manufacture. In other cases, percussion thinning of the piece with more limited edge preparation began without prior bifacial edge creation. A third variation of initial flaking for biface manufacture was an unifacial approach. This technique saw the early stages thin only the dorsal surface of the flake blank. The ventral face served as the striking platform (Skinner and Ainsworth 1990).

A number of schemes to characterize the stages of the Trajectory One type of biface manufacturing sequence have been proposed in North America (Callahan 1979; Collins 1975; Crabtree 1973; Frison and Bradley 1980; Holmes 1894; 1897; Muto 1971; Newcomer 1971; Rondeau and Rondeau 1990; Sharrock 1966). Regional variations in the size and morphology of biface manufacturing stages have been noted in California (Rondeau 1982c). Size and quality of the toolstone, along with the method of flake blank manufacture and the intended final form of the biface appear to have all contributed to the variability of regional manufacturing sequences.

Clear evidence for Trajectory Two, the pressure flaking of smaller flake blanks, generally into late prehistoric arrow points, was not found in this collection.

Cores: This study was designed to identify the core reduction techniques and the specific strategies that applied those techniques in the of manufacture flakes. Data was collected on the direction(s) of flake removal, pattern(s) of flake removal, the kind(s) of striking platforms used, the precore form of those artifacts, and any evidence of heat treatment.

Cores have been defined as the nucleus that remains after the removal of flakes (Crabtree 1972). Cores usually retain some evidence of the ways in which those flakes were removed. Differences in the manner of flake removal can often be determined by a reading of the flake scars. Identification of the techniques and strategies of flake removal generates data on stone tool manufacturing and use as well as changes in those activities through time (Rondeau 1987). Study of this artifact class may provide information addressing a number of archeological research questions (Rondeau 1979a).

Two primary reduction techniques appear to have been most common in prehistoric California. These were direct freehand percussion and bipolar percussion (Rondeau 1987). However, there was a range of flake removal strategies by which both flaking techniques were applied. Further, there was a substantial range of precore toolstone forms on which these techniques were used.

For direct freehand percussion reduction of cobbles, the flaking strategy, indicated by the pattern of flake removals, varied by the type of toolstone, its size, shape, quality, and the flake type desired. Direct freehand percussion strategies may be divided into two types, those that begun by splitting the cobble and those that did not. Split cobble strategies included one that used the split surface as a striking platform, blows struck around its margin to remove flakes unidirectionally towards the surviving cobble end. Another used the cortex edge adjacent to the split surface to drive off flakes from that surface. Successive blows often rotated around that cortex margin, usually driving flakes in towards the middle of the split surface.

Variations in these strategies have been observed. One, at CA-SCR-160, that used the split-cobble, cortex platform strategy did not always begin with a true splitting of the cobble. At times, just an end was knocked off the cobble, and in some cases just a flake was removed from one end to create the initial non-cortex surface (Rondeau and Rondeau 1992). As reduction by these strategies advanced they were sometimes abandoned for bifacial, bidirectional, or multidirectional strategies in order to remove a few last flakes as has been observed in the San Nicholas Island collections (Rondeau n.d. a).

In the northern Sierra it appears that this split-cobble cortex platform strategy may have been more flexible from the beginning at CA-SIE-39 (Rondeau n.d. b) where basalt cobble cores had flakes removed by rotating around the cortex platform as well as by sheering off entire split faces from some of these cores to produce "plates" (Rondeau et al. 1990). A last core flaking variation, which may be called a version of "the biggest flake possible" technique, was also used. This strategy involved removing a large flake down one side of a larger core face (e.g., split face) expanding the width of the main face as well as creating an off-center ridge running the length of the core. A second blow was then struck some distance back and roughly behind the ridge to remove the biggest flake possible.

Several examples of non-split cobble core reduction strategies include one that was used to drive flakes from one end of a cobble (Rondeau 1993; Rondeau and Rondeau 1993) using the cortex as a striking platform. The flakes were driven off in a unifacial, unidirectional manner. At CA-GLE-217 (Rondeau 1993) this strategy ended with some cores being reduced by any one of a number of other strategies to remove the final sequence of flakes (e.g., bifacial, bidirectional, or multidirectional). At other sites in the Northern Sacramento Valley this strategy became a sequential biface core where the flaked surface was used to remove a second series of flakes off the opposing cobble face (Rondeau n.d. b). This was not a true bifacial core strategy where flakes were taken off both faces with some degree of alternation between the two surfaces.

A multidirectional strategy without first applying another flake removal strategy used flat and curved cortex surfaces as well as flake scars for striking platforms on water rounded cobbles of irregular size and shape (Rondeau n.d. b). This final non-split cobble example might have been more commonly used on blocky and angular cobbles with a field stone cortex (non-water rounded). In the case of angular cobbles, numerous flat surfaces that could be used as striking platforms and ridges that flakes could follow were present. This morphology sometimes encouraged a multidirectional flake removal strategy.

Beyond the reduction of cobble cores by direct freehand percussion, pebbles, flakes, and formed artifacts were all used to produce needed flakes. Likewise, bipolar percussion was applied to pebbles, flakes, expended direct freehand percussion cores, formed flake tools as well as finished and unfinished bifaces.

The manufacture of different flake forms such as those to be made into bifaces, various formed flake tools, or to be used without modification also influenced flake manufacturing strategies.

Examples of specific flake types made from cores includes the manufacture of percussion blade flakes in northern most California (Cassidy 1992; Henn 1990); the use of percussion blades and microblades in the Tulare Lake locality (Rondeau 1985); and bladelets for Chumash bead drills (Arnold 1983; Swartz 1960). These represent other direct freehand percussion strategies used prehistorically in California.

Indications of other core reduction techniques include pressure microblade manufacture in northwestern Fresno County (Rondeau and Rondeau 1987) and limited use of MesoAmerican prismatic blades in Solano County during the early Spanish Period (Robert Jackson, personal communication 1986). These latter specimens were presumably made by the MesoAmerican lever pressure technique.

While these various blade and related manufacturing approaches occurred in California, they generally appear to have had some areal and/or temporal limits. The same may be true for the more generalized direct freehand and bipolar percussion strategies. However, preliminary indications seem to suggest that they have substantial geographic distributions and greater time depths. The extent to which core types will provide temporal and cultural markers remains largely for future research to determine.

The flexibility noted above for certain core reduction strategies appears to also have extended to the production of various flake types by those strategies, even on individual cores. The manufacture of cores for use as tools and/or their use during flake production also occurred. The reduction of cores for multiple uses must always be considered.

Intentionally Modified Flakes: This analysis was designed to describe the technological characteristics of these tools in order to: 1) indicate the methods of their modification; 2) identify the original flake types from which they were made; 3) suggest evidence for their use as tools; 4) show evidence for their rejuvenation; and 5) their use or reuse as cores. Data collected during this study included the types of techniques used to modify the flakes as well as the form and location of that flaking.

Incidentally Modified Flakes: This work sought to generate data suggesting what forces may have caused the various forms of edge modification. The object here was to define any patterns of recurring attributes that might indicate repeated prehistoric behaviors. The kinds of modification, its location, and form were recorded.

Use Wear Analysis

Use wear comes in a variety of forms on a wide range of stone artifacts. For this study, the analysis concentrated on edge rounding, specifically focused on the intentionally modified flakes, the incidentally modified flakes, and the drills. The intentionally modified flakes were of interest because they are generally considered to be formed flake tools. The percussion and/or pressure that was applied to their edges has been seen variously as preparation for use and/or rejuvenation for further use.

The incidentally modified flakes were studied since their diagnostic microflaking has often been assumed to be the result of use without supporting attempts at verification. Therefore, particular attention was paid to the edges with visible modification.

The drills were inspected for use wear on the edges, tip and other high points of the bit to determine if they were used as is suggested by their assigned artifact class. Rounding of these elements, with the absence of such wear elsewhere on the piece was considered to be diagnostic of use. Rotary striations on the bit along with microflaking damage to the bit edges potentially indicating rotation in one or both directions were also sought.

For the various flakes, rounding of modified edges, in the absence of rounding on other edges, projections, or high points was identified as use wear. Pervasive rounding on various elements was taken as a possible sign that rounding resulted from some form of weathering.

Use rounding identification was undertaken with low power magnification ranging up to 35X with a binocular microscope. Direct incandescent light was used to illuminate the specimens. It was recognized that this limited level of magnification usually allows for only a minority of the use worn specimens to be identified. However, it was argued that some identification of used tools in these artifact classes was preferable over the alternative of undocumented assertions.


The analysis identified 3,763 flaked stone artifacts. Debitage was the most common artifact type (n=3,560). Bifaces were the second most common (n=51). Thirty were unfinished bifaces with 18 projectile points and three others that suggested this latter assignment. Not all of the five drills fit easily into the biface category and have been presented as a separate artifact type. There were also 52 intentionally modified flakes (includes one also counted as a biface), 49 cores, and 47 incidentally modified flakes.

Use wear was identified on the working edge of that twice counted biface since it had later been made into a uniface style tool. Use wear was also found on all five drill tips, 28 edges of 23 intentionally modified flakes, and on 34 edges of 24 incidentally modified flakes. Four points showed impact damage and two had clear evidence of rejuvenation. Two points were reworked by radial break percussion and one by bipolar percussion.


General Comments: The recovered debitage totaled 3,560 pieces (Tables 1 and 2). Monterey chert was most common (n=3,119, 87.6%) with Franciscan chert making up most of the remainder (n=430, 21.1%). Quartz (n=3), quartzite (n=3), igneous rock (n=1), andesite (n=1), and one of obsidian were all too few in numbers to allow behavioral interpretations. Therefore, only the Monterey and Franciscan cherts were considered further by this study.

Technological Analysis (Table 1): The percentages for the two chert types were generally similar. The biface edged flake percentages for both Monterey (7.1%) and Franciscan (6.5%) suggested that no more than half the debitage resulted from biface manufacture. In this case, most of it was the result of percussion biface thinning. The manufacture of some bifaces directly from thin, tabular cobbles of water worn Monterey chert undoubtedly produced early stage debitage that did not appear in the collection as debitage traditionally assigned to biface manufacturing. Given the general nature of the interpretations, this slight skewing of the data did not alter the general inferences. Only limited evidence of biface pressure flaking was observed.

Table 1. Technological Debitage Data for CA-SLO-762.

Monterey Chert2,04115722045424753523,119
65.4%5.0% 7.1%14.6%7.9%17.2%0.1%87.6%
Franciscan Chert23434287856660430
54.4%7.9%6.5%18.2% 13.0%15.4%-12.1%
Igneous Rock10000101
------- -
Legend:   FF = Flake Fragment   AW = Angular Waste   BiE = Biface Edged Striking Platform   SF = Single-Facet Striking Platform   MF = Multiple-Facet Striking Platform   Co = Cortex (not counted as part of the total debitage)   Bip = Bipolar Debitage (not counted as part of the total debitage)

The relatively high angular waste and cortex percentages for both Monterey (5.0%, 17.2%) and Franciscan (7.9%, 15.4%) reflected the manufacture of flakes from cores by direct freehand percussion. Especially for the Monterey, and to a lesser degree for the Franciscan, some of the angular waste was the result of fire fracturing of previously flaked stone. Only a trace of bipolar percussion was found for the Monterey chert and none for the Franciscan. No evidence for blade or microblade manufacture was present for either chert type.

The single facet platform flakes for both Monterey (14.6%) and Franciscan (18.2%) reflected a combination of some cortex striking platform flakes that mainly resulted from flake manufacture as well as single flake scar and possibly a few ventral surface remnant platforms. Some single flake scar remnants were clearly attributable to percussion biface manufacture and others to the manufacture of flakes from cores. The multiple facet platform flakes for both cherts (Monterey 7.9%, Franciscan 13.0%) appeared largely attributable to percussion biface thinning, although a minority suggested that they may have come from multidirectional cores.

Size Class Analysis (Table 2): Both the Monterey and Franciscan toolstones showed similar modal size class frequency distributions. For both the largest number was in the one centimeter size class (Monterey 62.7%, Franciscan 53.9%). In both cases the second most numerous size class was the two centimeter (Monterey 20.2%, Franciscan 24.7%). The third largest for both was the smallest class (Monterey 12.0%, Franciscan 11.2%). This modal distribution argued that the manufacture of flakes from cores was responsible for the debitage collection. Since at least half of the debitage was the result of biface manufacture, the inference derived from the size class analysis was in error.

Table 2. Size Class Debitage Data for CA-SLO-762.

Material0.3 cm1 cm2 cm3 cm4 cm5 cmTotal
Monterey Chert37519576291322423,119
12.0% 62.7% 20.2%4.2%0.8% 0.1%87.6%
Franciscan Chert4823210633101430
11.2%53.9%24.7%7.7%2.3%0.2% 12.1%
Igneous Rock0300003

Projectile Points

General Comments: A total of 18 point specimens and three possible pieces were found in the collection (Table 3). All specimens were fragmentary and all, but two, were made of Monterey chert. For the other two, one was Franciscan chert and the second suggested this toolstone type, but was not clearly assignable. Fourteen point fragments did not indicate the blank type from which they were made. Only one Monterey specimen was clearly made from a flake blank. Two others, one each of Monterey and Franciscan suggested that blank form. One Monterey piece hinted that it may have been made from a tabular blank, but did not clearly show that origin. The three provisionally assigned to the point class did not provide evidence of their blank type.

Four generalized point types and one miscellaneous category were identified in this collection: side-notched (n=3), and one each contracting stem, double side-notched, and leaf. All of these point types were considered typical of the region (Terry Jones, personal communication 1993). Unfortunately, the small number of typable pieces precludes any meaningful discussion of their temporal significance for CA-SLO-762. The miscellaneous category included a range of untypable point pieces. They were non-diagnostic due to their fragmentary condition.

Table 3. Biface Data for CA-SLO-762.

Cat # = Catalog number
Mat = Material Type:   FC = Franciscan Chert  MC = Monterey Chert
STG/PPT = Biface Manufacturing Stages/Projectile Point Types:   1 = Stage One (initial flaking)   /CS = Contracting Stem Point Type   2 = Stage Two (early thinning stage)  /DN = Double Side-Notched Point Type   3 = Stage Three (middle thinning stage)  /LF = Leaf Shaped Point Type   4 = Stage Four (late thinning stage)  /SN = Side-Notched Point Type   5 = Stage Five (preform stage)   6 = Stage Six (finished form)
Cond = Condition:   BF = Basal Fragment  ENM = End Missing   BLD = Blade  FB = Flake Blank   BLF = Blade Fragment  MF = Blade Medial Fragment   BM = Base Missing  SERM = Serration Missing   BRM = Barb Missing  STM = Stem Tip Missing   BT = Blank Types   T = Point Tip   CRNF = Corner Fragment  TB = Tabular Blank   EGF = Edge Fragment  TM = Point Tip Missing   ENF = End Fragment  WO = Whole
FST = Flake Scar Types:   MF = Microflake Scars  PR = Pressure Flake Scars   PE = Percussion Flake Scars
BLF/FSP = Blade Edge Form/Blade Flake Scar Patterns   IR = Irregular Edge Form  /CHV = Chevron Flake Scar Pattern   SER = Serrated Edge Form  /CLDR-BFA = Collateral Flake Scar Pattern from Left Blade Edge and Diagonal Flake Scar Pattern from Right Blade Edge on Both Blade Faces   ST = Straight Edge Form  /IR = Irregular Flake Scar Pattern   /NOT = Notching Flake Scars
Remarks = Additional Observations:   B = Base  PE = Percussion   BC = Basal Corner  RB = Radial Break Percussion BL = Blade  RFB = Reflaked (from earlier) Biface   BP = Bipolar Percussion  RJB = Rejuvenated Base   BR = Burned  RJBL = Rejuvenated Blade   CO = Cortex  RJT = Rejuvenated Tip   EB = Edge Beveling   RK = Reworked   FF = Fire Fractured  RU = Reused   IDT = Impact Damaged Tip  TF = Thinning Failure   LS = Lateral Snap UN = Uniface   LSF&E; = Lateral Snap Face and Edge  UW = Use Wear   LSF&E; = Lateral Snap Face and Edge  ? = Unknown or Uncertain

Side-Notched Points (n=3): All three were of Monterey chert. One specimen was only a basal fragment from a lateral snap between the two side-notches. The other two were relatively complete. One was missing its tip due to impact damage. The base may also have been impact damaged. It was also fire fractured.

The third side-notched specimen was also missing its tip due to impact. A barb had also been broken off. It showed rejuvenation of the blade element and a basal corner.

Double Side-notched (n=1): This arrow point sized specimen of Monterey chert had a convex base and two sets of side-notches. It would have been complete except that fire fracturing removed a portion of one of the square serrations formed by the double notches. The tip was rejuvenated by pressure flaking.

Contracting Stem (n=1): Both the blade and tip of the contracting stem were missing. It was heavily burned and made of Monterey chert.

Leaf (n=1): The toolstone type for this specimen may have been Franciscan chert, but this placement remains unclear. It was a convex basal fragment that suggested manufacture from a flake blank. It was fire fractured.

Miscellaneous Point Fragments (n=15): All specimens, except one of Franciscan chert, were of Monterey chert. Six were blade fragments, three edge fragments, three medial fragments (including two tentatively assigned as projectile points), two blade fragments with their tips missing, and one with only the tip missing. This latter specimen was the one assigned as transitional between a preform and a finished point.

Two pieces showed impact damage to the tip, one being the Franciscan artifact. The other was the only biface specimen that retained evidence of having been reworked by bipolar percussion. A third, the transitional piece, may also have had impact damage along with possible rejuvenation of the blade and basal elements. For this latter piece, however, these interpretations remain tentative. A fourth specimen suggested, but did not document tip rejuvenation.

Two specimens were reworked by radial break percussion. Another had a lateral snap edge and face reworked by percussion. A fourth piece was also reworked by percussion. Bipolar may be suspected, but certainly was not indicated. This fourth fragment was then reused as a uniface tool. That tool edge exhibited use wear under magnification.

Unfinished Bifaces

General Comments: A total of 30 specimens were placed in this artifact class (Table 3). Monterey chert accounted for 25 (83.3%) of the unfinished bifaces. The other five were of Franciscan chert. Twenty (66.7%) were made from flake blanks. This includes 16 Monterey chert bifaces and 4 Franciscan chert bifaces. Two tentative assignments to this blank type also involved one each of Monterey and Franciscan chert. Seven natural, tabular blanks of Monterey chert were also identified. An eighth piece of Monterey suggested this blank form.

Stage One: A complete manufacturing sequence was indicated by the 30 unfinished specimens. One specimen may belong in stage one (initial flaking). This beginning stage was difficult to assign due to the limited amount of flaking. For this reason, three artifacts assigned as cores and one as an intentionally modified flake were also recognized as possible stage one bifaces.

Thinning Stages: Eight were placed in stage two (early biface thinning). Two others were tentatively assigned to this stage. One definite assignment and one of the possible placements were of Franciscan chert. The other eight were Monterey chert. Twelve were put in stage three (middle biface thinning). Three of these were also Franciscan chert. The rest were Monterey chert. Two were placed in stage four (late biface thinning). Two others were provisionally placed with this group. All four were Monterey chert.

Preforms: Two Monterey chert bifaces suggested a transitional state between stages 4 and 5. One other Monterey piece was tentatively assigned to stage five (preform).

Fragment Types: Only one specimen was unbroken. The other 29 specimens were fragmentary. Sixteen (53.3%) were end fragments. Three were Franciscan and 13 Monterey. One additional Monterey piece suggested this fragment type. Four were biface edge fragments. One was Franciscan chert, the other three Monterey. Two medial fragments were identified and a third suggested this fragment form. All three were of Monterey chert. Two bifaces had an end missing. One was Monterey, the other Franciscan. Two corner fragments from Monterey chert bifaces were also identified. A possible preform of Monterey lacked its tip and possibly the base as well.

Flaking Technique Variations: Variations in technique included two biface fragments, both in stage three, that had been flaked using a lateral snap surface as the striking platform. One was Monterey and the other Franciscan. One Monterey biface that was placed as transitional between stages four and five may have been reworked as a core. A Monterey chert biface with a tentative stage five assignment may have been reflaked from an earlier finished biface, but this could not be documented with certainty.


General Comments: Five specimens (Table 4) were assigned to this artifact class. Three were of Franciscan chert and two of Monterey chert. Four and possibly the fifth were made from percussion flakes. All were modified by pressure flaking. Under magnification all five exhibited use rounding on the bit tip. Neither rotary striations nor microflaking that could indicate direction of rotation were observed. The size differences among these specimens (Table 4) suggested that more than one function was served by this artifact class.

Table 4. Drill Data for CA-SLO-762.

Cat # Mat  FT  SZ  EU  M/S FST&EGT;/EGFEConRemarks
Cat # = Catalog number:   Mat = Material Type   MC = Monterey Chert  FC = Franciscan Chert
FT = Flake Type:   PE = Percussion Flake
SZ = Flake Size (cm)
EU = Edge Unit:   /D = Dorsal Surface  DM = Distal Margin   LLM = Left Lateral Margin  RLM = Right Lateral Margin   D = Dorsal Surface  V = Ventral Surface   DATRLM = Flaking from Dorsal Arris Towards Right Lateral Margin
M/S = Modified Flake Margin/Modified Flake Surface:   PM = Proximal Margin  RLM = Right Lateral Margin   V = Ventral Surface
FST = Flake Scar Types:   PR = Pressure Flake Scars  MF = Microflake Scars
EGT/EGF = Edge Types/Edge Forms:   TIP = Pointed End of Tool  /IR = Irregular Flake Scar Pattern   /U = Uniform Flake Scar Pattern ECon = Edge Condition:   R = Rounded Edge  UW = Use Worn Edge
Remarks = Modified Edge Condition:   CO = Cortex  FF = Fire Fractured   ? = Unknown or Uncertain


General Comments: A total of 49 cores were found in the collection. Forty-eight showed percussion flaking with only one uncertain due to fire fracturing. One also had microflaking from its precore form as an edge modified flake. Due to thermal alteration between the time of its edge modification and later use as a core, evidence of edge rounding that could have signaled use wear may have been obliterated. One core, the only unidirectional specimen that suggested a form similar to a blade core, may also have had some pressure flaking. However, no definite evidence of pressure manufacture of flakes from cores was found in this collection.

Thirty-four were Monterey chert, ten were Franciscan chert, two of unassigned cherts, and two of obsidian. The most common core type was multidirectional (n=15). Three others may belong in this type, one of which was placed in the possible assay cores. Eleven cores were unidirectional. The next most common core type was bipolar (n=6). One other specimen suggested that type, but could not be assigned with certainty. There were four core fragments. One bifacial core was identified with a second uncertain as to its placement with this type. Also found were one rotational core, one possibly bidirectional core, and one that did not even suggested a core type due to its extensively fire fractured condition.

Monterey Chert Cores: Monterey chert cores were most numerous (n=34, 69.4%). The system of core reduction for Monterey chert was flexible. A multidirectional flake removal strategy was used on a variety of different sized pieces. Flake cores were commonly worked with a unidirectional strategy with the ventral flake surface as the striking platform. Some smaller pieces were flaked by bipolar percussion.

Multidirectional cores were the most common type for the Monterey chert specimens (n=10). All ten still showed cortex. Three were reduced from cobbles and a fourth may have been. One cobble core had a last series of flake removals that were unidirectional from a split cobble surface striking platform.

Two other Monterey multidirectional cores had started as either cobble or pebble sized rocks. Another was from a large flake. An additional specimen may have begun as a fragment of a larger core. Two specimens did not indicate their precore form. Two specimens, including one of these latter two, were fire fractured.

The second most common Monterey chert core type was unidirectional (n=9). Seven were made from flakes. All seven had the ventral surface used as the striking platform. One of these seven had a morphology very similar to a blade core. One other retained some cortex. A final specimen was fire fractured.

For the other two unidirectional Monterey cores, one was made from a cobble and the other from either a cobble or pebble. Both had cortex. The cobble core had a split surface that served as the striking platform. The other specimen had a cortex striking platform.

Three Monterey Cores were bipolar. Two started as flakes, but the third could not be determined. One flake core retained cortex. The three Monterey core fragments all retained cortex. One had been a cobble and another may have been a flake. The precore form of the third could not be ascertained.

The three possible assay cores of Monterey chert began as a cobble, a tabular cobble, and a tabular piece that may have been either a cobble or pebble in size. All three had cortex. The cobble core may have been multidirectional, but this could not be confirmed. The tabular cobble specimen may represent the beginnings of a stage one biface, but this was uncertain.

Table 5. Core Data for CA-SLO-762.

Cat # = Catalog Number
Mat = Material Type
   FC = Franciscan Chert  MC = Monterey Chert
OB = Obsidian
PF = Precore Form:   C/P? = Cobble or Pebble  PB = Pebble   CB = Cobble
TC = Tabular Cobble   CF = Core Fragment  TP = Tabular Pebble   FK = Flake
FST = Flake Scar Types:   PE = Percussion Flake Scars  PR = Pressure
Flake Scars
CT = Core Type:   AS? = Possible Assay  CF = Core Fragment
BD = Bidirectional  MD = Multidirectional   BF = Bifacial  RP = Rotational
Pattern   BP = Bipolar  UD = Unidirectional
Remarks = Additional Observations:   BL = Blade Core Like Form
HT = Heat Treated   BR = Burned  LS = Last Series of Flake Removals
CO = Cortex  PHT = Preheat Treatment   CP = Cortex Striking Platform
S1? = Possible Stage 1 Biface   DS = Discoidal Like Form   SP = Split
Cobble Surface Striking Platform   EMF = Edge Modified Flake   VP =
Ventral Flake Surface Striking Platform   FF = Fire Fractured  WC =
Water Worn Cortex   ? = Unknown or Uncertain

The one definite bifacial core was made from a Monterey chert cobble. The form of this specimen was roughly discoidal and appears to indicate the intentional manufacture of flakes rather than an attempt to shape the piece. It retained cortex. The one possible bifacial core also retained cortex. It was made from a tabular cobble of Monterey chert and might represent the very beginnings of making a stage one biface.

The one rotational core was made from a flake of Monterey chert. This flaking technique of working around a cortex margin was similar to the core reduction strategy at CA-SCR-160 (Rondeau and Rondeau 1992). However, it differs because its precore form was a flake while the cores from the Santa Cruz County site were reduced from large pebbles and small cobbles.

The core provisionally assigned as bidirectional may also have been a very early stage one biface with only the most preliminary flaking. It was a tabular piece of Monterey chert with cortex. It was also fire fractured.

One core did not suggest a typological placement due to extensive fire fracturing. It was made from a Monterey chert cobble. Cortex was still in evidence. Another core was not clearly Monterey chert. It was multidirectional, may have been reduced from a pebble, and retained some cortex.

Franciscan Chert Cores: Ten cores were of Franciscan chert (20.4%). No consistent method of flake manufacture was indicated for the Franciscan chert either in the form of the toolstone used as cores or in the flaking techniques used to manufacture flakes. Three Franciscan cores were bipolar, two unidirectional, and two multidirectional. There was a single undiagnostic core fragment. The tenth was a possible assay core.

Out of the ten Franciscan chert cores, bipolar was most common, but still a minority of the pieces. The precore forms of the bipolar specimens included two flakes and a pebble. Only the pebble core showed cortex. The two multidirectional Franciscan chert cores included one that was a cobble. The precore form of the other could not be determined. Both showed cortex remnants. The two unidirectional cores were originally flakes. The ventral surface of both served as the striking platforms. One retained cortex and the other was burned.

The Franciscan assay core was a cortex coated Franciscan cobble. For the core fragment, the original form could not be determined. It had been burned. The last piece may have been a cobble that might have been worked by bipolar percussion, but a certain determination of either was precluded by its fire fractured condition.

Other Chert Cores: There were two cores unassigned as to chert type. One was made from a flake. The other may have been made from a fragment of a larger core. The former was multidirectional. The latter was heat treated and suggested the same core type. Both retained cortex.

Obsidian Cores: Both obsidian cores had cortex. The precore form of one remains unknown although the other may have been a cobble. This latter piece was placed in the multidirectional core type. The other was a core fragment. Both pieces appeared to be of the same obsidian type, a poorer grade volcanic glass with phenocrysts. These pieces appeared to be of an atypical obsidian for the region. They were also odd in that most obsidian has been found as smaller pieces, most often as pressure flakes and their fragments in this archaeological district. Without sourcing and hydration studies and because of the poor recovery context, the prehistoric placement of these specimens may be suspect.

Intentionally Modified Flakes

General Comments: For these 52 specimens (Table 6), Monterey chert was the most common toolstone (n=43, 82.7%). Six were of Franciscan chert and two were of cherts that could not be placed. One other specimen appeared similar to Franciscan chert, but remains questionable.

Blank Types: Only 47 were actually flakes. The other five were not. Two were made from tabular pieces of Monterey chert and a third suggested this blank type. One was from a reworked biface fragment. It was also discussed above under the results of the biface analysis. The fifth specimen was a Monterey chert spall. These artifacts were included under intentionally modified flakes since they appeared to be similar tool types, the only difference being their original forms. The other 47 specimens were percussion flakes.

Table 6. Intentionally Modified Flake Data for CA-SLO-762.

Cat # = Catalog Number
Mat = Material Type:   FC = Franciscan Chert  MC = Monterey Chert   CH = Chert
(not identified as to type)
FT = Flake Type:   PE = Percussion Flake  TC = Tabular Cobble   RKBF = Reworked
Biface Fragment (NFT)  URF = Uniface Rejuvenation Flake   SP = Spall (NFT)    NFT= not a flake type   TAB = Tabular Piece (NFT)
SZ = Flake Size (cm)
EU = Edge Unit
M/S = Modified Flake Margin/Modified Flake Surface:   /D = Dorsal Surface
LLM = Left Lateral Margin   /MS = Margin Surface  LM = Lateral Margin (side not identified)   /PSS = Proximal Snap Surface  NA = Not Applicable   /SP = Striking Platform  PM = Proximal Margin   /V = Ventral Surface  RBM = Radial Break Margin
CIR = Circumference of Flake  RLM = Right Lateral Margin   DM = Distal Margin
FST = Flake Scar Types:   MF = Microflake Scars  PE = Percussion Flake Scars   PR = Pressure Flake Scars
EGT/EGF = Edge Types/Edge Forms:   /IR = Irregular Flake Scar Pattern  R = Edge Rounding   /U = Uniform Flake Scar Pattern  SER = Serrated Edge   CV = Concave Edge  ST = Straight Edge   CX = Convex Edge  ST = Striations   DNT = Denticulate Edge  TIP = Pointed Edge   ECon = Edge Condition  UW = Use Wear   IR = Irregular Edge  WE = Weathered   NR = No Edge Rounding
Remarks = Additional Observations:   BIFG = Biface Fragment  RD = Recent Damage   BR = Burned  RK = Reworked   CO = Cortex  S1B = Stage One Biface   FF = Fire Fractured  UNF = Uniface Fragment   FSU = Fire Spalled Uniface  UNI = Uniface   PRUNI = Prior to Becoming a Uniface  UNM = Uniface Margin   PSTA = Post Thermal Alteration  URFM = Uniface Rejuvenation Flake Margin   RB = Radial Break Percussion   ? = Unknown or Uncertain

Six of these were identified as uniface rejuvenation flakes and as such, had been modified prior to their creation. All three kinds of uniface rejuvenation flakes defined by Shafer (1970) were identified in this collection. There were two of each type: ventral platform, dorsal platform, and lateral edge removal.

Edge Units: A total of 74 modified edge units were present on these specimens. Not all of these, however, were intentionally modified. Nine edges showed only microflaking and were equivalent to modified edges on the incidentally modified flakes discussed below. Other edges on these same seven flakes were intentionally modified. Eighteen edges were modified by percussion flaking. One of these also showed pressure flake scars. One other suggested, but did not confirm percussion flaking. All 19 had microflake scars. All other edge units (n=46, 62.2%) had or suggested pressure flaking. Of those 46 edges, only four did not also have microflake scars.

Thirty-three flakes had only one modified edge unit each. Sixteen had two modified edges (n=32). Only three had three edge units each (n=9). Twenty-eight edges on 23 intentionally modified flakes showed use. Four of the six uniface rejuvenation flakes had use wear.

Fifty edges (67.6%) had dorsally dominant flake scar patterns. Ventrally dominant patterns appeared on 15 (20.3%) edge units. Eight edges either were not relevant to this study because they were not made from flakes or could not be identified as to which surfaces had been modified. The other five edge units were modified on flake margin surfaces, a snap surface, and a striking platform.

Twenty-two (78.6%) of the 28 used edges showed dorsally dominant flake scar patterns. Only three use worn edges had ventrally dominant patterns. The modification on two used edges could not be assigned to a flake face. The last used specimen was not applicable to this study since it was made from a reworked biface.

Incidentally Modified Flakes

General Comments: Of the 47 incidentally modified flakes, 36 (76.6%) were Monterey chert (Table 7). Eight (17.0%) were Franciscan chert. There was one chert flake that was not assignable as to toolstone type. There was also one specimen each that may have been Monterey chert and Franciscan chert, but neither allowed a clear placement.

Flake Types: All of the flakes appear to have been produced by percussion flaking. Seven were clearly percussion biface thinning flakes and four others suggested this possibility. One was a biface edge beveling flake. One specimen may have been a uniface rejuvenation flake, but if this assignment had been certain, it would have been placed in the intentionally modified flake category.

Edge Units Seventy-four edge units with modification were identified. All, but one, showed microflake scars. The exception had submicroflake scars visible only under magnification. Three flakes had three modified edges, 24 had two modified edges, and 23 each had one modified edge unit. Thirty-four edges on 24 incidentally modified flakes retained use wear.

Only 22 edge units (29.7%) clearly showed uniform microflake scar patterns. Of these 22, only ten (45.5%) showed use wear. Forty-four (59.6%) edge units clearly had irregular microflake scar patterns. Of those 44, 22 edges (50.0%) retained use evidence.

Forty-six edge units (62.2%) were dominated by microflake scars on the dorsal flake faces. Ventrally dominated microflake was evident on 19 specimens (25.7%). Four had roughly equally amounts on both dorsal and ventral flake surfaces. Three were modified onto a edge margin surface, one onto the striking platform, and the flake surface of one could not be determined.

Of the 34 edges with identified use wear, nine (26.5%) had microflaking dominant on the ventral side of the flake. Twenty-four with use worn edges (70.6%) had dorsally dominant microflake scar patterns. One used edge was microflaked equally on both faces. One with use was microflaked on an edge margin surface.

Table 7. Incidentally Modified Flake Data for CA-SLO-762.

Cat # Mat  FT  SZ  EU M/SFSTEGT/EGF ECon Remarks
Cat # = Catalog Number
Mat = Material Type
: FC = Franciscan Chert  MC = Monterey Chert   CH = Chert (not identified as to type)
FT = Flake Type:   BFBV = Biface Beveling Flake  PE = Percussion Flake   BTF = Biface Thinning Flake  URF = Uniface Rejuvenation Flake   SZ = Flake Size (cm)
EU = Edge Unit:   M/S = Modified Flake Margin/Modified Flake Surface   /D = Dorsal Surface  LLM = Left Lateral Margin   /MS = Margin Surface  LM = Lateral Margin (side not identified)   /SP = Striking Platform  PM = Proximal Margin   /V = Ventral Surface  RLM = Right Lateral Margin   DM = Distal Margin
FST = Flake Scar Types:   MF = Microflake Scars  SMF = Submicroflake Scars (visible only with magnification)
EGT/EGF = Edge Types/Edge Forms:   /IR = Irregular Flake Scar Pattern  CX = Convex Edge   /U = Uniform Flake Scar Pattern  IR = Irregular Edge   CV = Concave Edge  ST = Straight Edge
ECon = Edge Condition:   NR = No Edge Rounding  UW = Use Wear   R = Edge Rounding  WE = Weathered
Remarks = Additional Observations:   BR = Burned  HT = Heat Treated   CO = Cortex  RD = Recent Damage   FF = Fire Fractured   ? = Unknown or Uncertain

Research Questions Review

1) What flaking techniques were used at CA-SLO-762?

Direct freehand percussion, bipolar percussion, radial break percussion, and pressure flaking were used at CA-SLO-762.

2) How did these flaking techniques vary (e.g., by material type, stages of reduction, types of artifacts manufactured)?

Monterey chert was a large majority of all flaked stone artifact classes and all flaking techniques with one exception. Three of five drills were Franciscan chert. Franciscan chert ran a distant second in the debitage, unfinished bifaces, points, cores, intentionally modified flakes, and incidentally modified flakes.

Direct freehand percussion was used to make flakes from cobbles, larger flakes, and to a much lesser degree bifaces. Direct freehand percussion was also used to manufacture bifaces and unifaces, as well as to rejuvenate unifaces. Pressure flaking was used to manufacture points and probably to make and rejuvenated unifaces. Bipolar percussion was very limited, but was used to make flakes from larger flakes. To an even lesser degree bipolar percussion was used to rework presumably spent projectile points for the manufacture of flakes. A trace of bipolar percussion also worked natural stones. Radial break percussion was even more limited than bipolar. Several examples of its use to rework points was discovered. One of these examples retained use wear.

3) What types of artifacts were made on-site, discarded there, and removed from CA-SLO-762 for use elsewhere?

Cores, flakes, bifaces, finished points, as well as retouched and expedient flake tools were made and discarded at the site. The points discarded at the site, however, may not all have been made at that location. Likewise, finished projectile points were the most likely artifact to have been removed upon completion. Unfinished bifaces and useful flakes were also probably removed for use and modification elsewhere.

4) What may be deduced regarding the organization of lithic technology at CA-SLO-762?

A broad spectrum lithic technology was used at CA-SLO-762. It serve a wide range of uses. Toolstone appears to have been locally available; allowing for the tool production (e.g., bifaces) for use on-site and elsewhere. A "gearing up" aspect may be represented in the assemblage.

The range of approaches to manufacturing flakes for use seemed to support an interpretation of a very flexible flaked stone industry. This same variability in both formed and casual flake tools, both lacking any general trends in form and technology, might also have argued for there having been a flexible approach. However, due to the lack of context, the degree to which temporal and cultural differences may contribute to the variability in the flaked stone assemblage cannot be determined. For this reason, the organization of lithic technology at CA-SLO-762 cannot be posited at this time.

5) In light of what can be said about the organization of lithic technology, what inferences may be drawn regarding subsistence and mobility strategies?

Again, the main drawback to such interpretations was the lack of context and related temporal and cultural assignments. Only in a vague sense can a series of identified behavioral patterns be suggested. The degree to which behavioral patterns varied through time, or how one pattern related to another during a specific period, cannot be evaluated.

6) Did debitage size sorting identify the flaking techniques used at CA-SLO-762 (Patterson 1983) or were the contrary arguments of Stahl and Dunn (1983) justified?

The arguments of Stahl and Dunn (1983) were justified. Size sorting failed to identify most of the flaking techniques and all of the flaking strategies that applied those techniques.

7) Do irregular patterns of edge damage on flake margins signal trampling damage (Tringham et al. 1978) or may they indicate use damage (Flenniken and Haggarty 1979)?

The analysis of the incidentally modified flakes from CA-SLO-762 found that irregular patterns of microflaking were more common, but about equal percentages of both irregular and uniform patterns had use evidence. Therefore, irregular patterns cannot be considered indicative of trampling damage. The view of Flenniken and Haggarty (1979) was supported.

8) Can flake scars predominately on the dorsal face of modified flakes indicate intentional human activities (Patterson 1984)?

It appeared that dorsally modified flakes may indicate intentional human activities at CA-SLO-762 since a majority of both the intentionally modified flakes and incidentally modified flakes had dorsally dominant flake scar patterns.

9) Were a large majority of the bifaces, including projectile points, made from flake blanks (Goodyear 1974)?

The projectile points were inconclusive. Due to their advanced state of reduction and generally fragmentary condition, evidence of the original blank forms was not generally preserved on those specimens. For the unfinished bifaces, however, two thirds were clearly made from flake blanks. The presence of a minority of pieces manufactured from tabular cobbles of Monterey chert was noteworthy. Aside from the coastal region where Monterey chert has been found (Hylkema 1991; Rondeau 1979b), no other area in California has evidenced a consistent prehistoric use of an alternative to flake blanks for the manufacture of bifaces.


The flaked stone from CA-SLO-762 was involved in a range of manufacturing activities. Flakes, bifaces, flake tools, and projectile points were made. Rejuvenation, replacement, reworking, and discard of points was also done. Use and rejuvenation of a wide range of flake tools also took place at CA-SLO-762. Several different types of drills were also manufactured and used.

In conclusion, it was difficult, due to the lack of context and comparative data from the Cambria locality, to determine if the flaked stone assemblage recovered from CA-SLO-762 might be typical of other flaked stone assemblages in the area. For the number of debitage pieces recovered, most formed flaked stone artifact classes provided a good sample size. Was this common in the area? Was the same variability in core reduction techniques and strategies typical or were there temporal variations? Was the variability in flake tools typical, or did it vary according to environmental and/or temporal factors? Was the recovery ratio of debitage to points and other formed flake tools typical? The findings of this kind of research always raises more questions than it answers. In learning what questions can and need to be asked, this study was a success.


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