Our repository of lithic materials, systematically collected from both geological outcrops and prehistoric quarries, permits the correlation of prehistoric artifacts and raw material with lithic sources throughout the eastern half of the United States. The repository includes oriented hand samples, as well as polished and acid-etched slabs for macroscopic analysis.
Thin section petrographic and SEM characteristics have also been compiled which allow us to use structural fabric, macro- and microfossils, recrystallization fabrics, replacement features, and aspects of diagenesis to understand the origin of the chert and why it was chosen as a lithic source. We have also begun compiling a library of diagnostic SEM images for comparative purposes.
Our extensive lithic repository is the largest of its kind in the world. It is also the key to our ability to target prehistoric lithic resources and pinpoint the locations of prehistoric quarries, because it permits us to look at the intraformational variation of any lithic raw material, especially chert, from New England down to the Gulf Coast, and to points west.
***Updated Spring, 2014