The next morning in class, we were introduced to archaeological vocabulary, necessary to accurately understand and describe stone artefacts. We learned how to describe the physical characteristics, such as: ventral (internal) and dorsal (external) sides of a flake; cortex, or the external skin of the original rock; and negatives (signs of a flake removal) and positives (the flake or removed piece itself). Additionally, we discussed some of the key physical features of rock fracture mechanics, related to the visible distribution of force throughout the raw material. Examples of these features include a striking platform (the point or platform on a flake where it was initially struck); a bulb of percussion (a rounded bulb on the ventral side, radiating out from the striking platform); and conchoidal fractures (concentric ripples, indicative of a particularly powerful strike).
In the afternoon, we traveled to the nearby Holocene site of Ayangiyeng where stone artefacts abound on the surface, fun in both name and content. The site borders a playa, or seasonal lake, and artefacts litter the banks of this clay pan. Though the age of this site preceded what would be discussed in class for several days, it served as an important exercise in recognizing spatial distribution and identifying key features on artefacts.