Lithics and Learning

Lithic Technology as Heart-Centered Practice
  • Callum AbbottEmail author


This chapter reports on a diachronic analysis of three lithic assemblages from Quadra Island, located in the Discovery Islands archipelago of the Northwest Coast of North America. Situating my analysis within a rubric of heart-centered practice, insights flow about the genealogies of technological practice and ancestral communities of skilled practitioners who inhabited the study area throughout its deep history. By using a combination of quantitative morphometric methods and reflexive introspection, I weave a narrative of technological change occurring alongside simultaneous gestural continuity for hundreds of generations of lived human lives. I argue this provides evidence for the dynamic, sophisticated, yet enduring knowledge and practice of the inhabitants of the Discovery Islands throughout their deep histories that persist in the present.


Communities of practice Lithic technologies Northwest Coast 



The seeds for this paper were sown when Natasha Lyons and Kisha Supernant invited me to participate in the Archaeologies of the Heart symposium at the 2017 Society for American Archaeology meetings in Vancouver. I am very grateful for the invitation to contribute to such a lively, thoughtful, inspiring, and occasionally tearful meeting of archaeological scholars who put their hearts into what they do. Natasha and Kisha along with Seonaid Duffield, Jacob Earnshaw, Daryl Fedje, Quentin Mackie, Andrew Martindale, John Murray, Jacob Salmen-Hartley, Jenny Serpa-Francoeur, Ann Stahl, and three anonymous reviewers provided valuable critical feedback on earlier versions of this paper. Big thanks to Sharonne Specker for contributing her beautiful illustrations. Nicholas Waber and Daniel Stueber taught me to knap, and many others make continuing to do so both insightful and fun. Christina Munck, Eric Peterson, and the Hakai Institute staff provided much appreciated financial and logistical support. Any errors or biases are my own. Thank you to all.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Hakai InstituteHeriot BayCanada

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