New Approaches to Old Stones: Recent Studies of Ground Stone Artifacts (2008) edited by Yorke M. Rowan and Jennie R. Ebeling

This book has 20 descriptions of research efforts around the world related to ground stone artifacts. As many of the contributors were eager to point out, ground stone artifacts receive much less attention than their more famous cousins, chipped stone artifacts. I was especially interested to learn how difficult it is to match artifacts to sources (quarries, etc.), even in regions with near-surface geology.

I did think there were 2 aspects of the book that could have used improvement.

I wish the editors had provided guidelines for the consistent use of historical time references. Within this 1 book, many terms were used, including some of those listed below.

AD – Anno Domini (Latin for “in the year of our Lord”)
BC – Before Christ
BCE – Before common era (BC without mentioning a religious figure)
BP – Before present
KA – Kilo annum, thousands of years (ago)

More seriously, some researchers used the Mohs scale to describe the hardness of rocks. The Mohs scale should only be used to describe the hardness of minerals. Multi-mineral rocks can be described in terms of density, porosity, or uniaxial compressive strength, as some researchers do in the book. Misusing the Mohs scale for rocks suggests a misunderstanding of what is being described and may ultimately lead to false conclusions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>