Properties and sources of some Saskatchewan lithic materials of archaeological significance
Johnson, Eldon Arthur
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This study examines nine varieties of lithic material of archaeological significance. These materials were chipped into useful prehistoric artifacts and can be found in southern Saskatchewan. The identity of each variety has been determined by petrographic analyses and features useful for field identification have been described. The source of each material has been related to a geological formation. For archaeological purposes, it is proposed that chalcedonic silica be regarded as a silica polymorph separate from quartz. This distinction permits more accuracy in developing concepts of rock identity. It also makes way for an explanation for the phenomenon of change in properties of certain varieties of rock by heating to a relatively low temperature. Chalcedonic silica is regarded as the active component of the kinds of rocks that are made easier to chip by heating. Many varieties of material were experimentally heated and the results provide strong support for this concept.