Comparing the Formation and Characteristics of Use-Wear Traces on Flint, Chert, Dolerite and Quartz

Alessandro Aleo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Use-wear traces are considered to be material specific. The use of an appropriate reference collection is thus fundamental for interpreting tools' function. To test whether a flint reference collection can be used to interpret the function of non-flint tools, I conducted experiments using chert, dolerite, and quartz endscrapers and flakes. I compared wear traces obtained during the experiment with use-wear on experimental flint tools exposed to the same variables (motion, contact material, time). The results highlighted strong similarities in the characteristics and distribution of traces on chert and flint. Dolerite and quartz differ from flint, especially regarding the distribution and appearance of use-polish. However, shared traits were observed in all the raw materials involved in this experiment, demonstrating a certain degree of comparability between use-wear traces on flint and non-flint rocks. Based on the data, a flint reference collection can allow a basic interpretation of use-wear also on different rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-148
JournalLithic Technology
Volume48 (2023)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • experimental archaeology
  • Non-flint rocks
  • South African lithics
  • use-wear traces


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