FAQ: What is lithic reduction?

Lithic reduction (or just reduction) is the process of taking a relatively large, shapeless piece of chert and reducing it into progressively smaller, purposefully shaped pieces that can be used as tools. The general reduction process is called flint knapping or just knapping (chert knapping just doesn't sound right), but there are several different reduction techniques involving different kinds of flint- knapping tools (such as hammerstones, antler billets, and antler pressure flakers) and different methods of applying force to remove material from the parent mass (called a core). Chert nodules can be reduced into a variety of flakes or blades (parallel-sided flakes made by a specialized reduction technique), some of which may be further reduced into tools themselves (these are called flake tools or blade tools). Alternatively, the nodule of chert can be reduced (chipped away) until only a single bifacial tool is left (a core tool).

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