In the 1980’s, the Department of Anthropology hired Dr. George Odell, a microscopic lithics analyst. Dr. Odell developed a technique for analyzing microscopic use-wear on lithic tools using “low-power” microscopes using indirect light. He taught classes on use-wear analysis and required students to conduct experiments using tools or flakes they had flintknapped. The students then studied the wear on the tools in order to understand the flaking and fractures and to understand the differences between materials. In addition, at the end of the course, Dr. Odell required that students leave behind five tools or flakes for his comparative collection. This collection has assisted students in training their eyes to determine the different flaking patterns from different types of use-wear. With her hiring at the department, Dr. Danielle Macdonald has expanded the collection by contributing her own comparative artifacts.
For her assistantship under Dr. Macdonald, Colleen works to digitize the comparative collection. Once the digitization is complete, the collection will be uploaded to an online resource allowing researchers around the world to utilize the collection.
This picture shows Colleen photographing a broken projectile point created and used by a former TU student.