Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Anthropology (Cultural Heritage Option)
Department or School/College
Department of Anthropology
Douglas H. MacDonald
John Douglas, Julie A. Baldwin
Knife River flint, Lithic Raw Material, Ultraviolet, Montana, Exchange
University of Montana
Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology | Indigenous Studies | United States History
An examination of the spatial, temporal, and functional distribution of Knife River flint in Montana, and a study in misidentification of Knife River flint in archaeological assemblages. Lithic sourcing has the potential to provide a plethora of information to archaeologists: resource procurement strategies, mobility patterns, trade networks, and the preferencing of particular lithic material types. However, without proper identification it is impossible to study the distribution of lithic materials from their source. Knife River flint, a brown chalcedony, is a particularly fascinating material, geologically occurring in a small area, but culturally distributed over a large area. I analyze the distribution of Knife River flint at prehistoric archaeological sites in Montana and conduct an experiment to measure the accuracy of Knife River flint identification in prior studies. I find that archaeologists have applied the term Knife River flint with variable accuracy, with a tendency to under identify the material and assume lithic materials are of a more local origin. The use of ultraviolet light fluorescence to differentiate Knife River flint from look-alike materials is a valuable resource for archaeologists, and the technique’s worth is further proved in this thesis.
Evilsizer, Laura, "Knife River Flint Distribution and Identification in Montana" (2016). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 10670.
© Copyright 2016 Laura Evilsizer