Research

Analyzing experimental tools from the George Odell collection
Analyzing experimental tools from the George Odell collection

Digitization of the George Odell Lithic Microwear Collection 

The George Odell Lithic Microwear Collection represents one of the world’s largest assemblage of experimental stone tools created for microwear analysis. Currently, the George Odell Lithic Microwear Collection is being digitized and uploaded to an online database to preserve and share this resource with the international research community. This project is part of an international collaborative effort to create an online database of stone tool microwear traces and resources. The database will include details of the experimental conditions (motion, contact material etc.), as well as stereomicroscopic and reflected-light photomicrographs of the wear traces. 

The Use of Domestic Space at Kharaneh IV

Excavating at Kharaneh IV
Excavating at Kharaneh IV

This research project explores the nature of hunter-gatherer aggregation before the dawn of agriculture in the Near East. The site of Kharaneh IV (19.8 – 18.6 ka cal BP) is located within the Azraq Basin, a large drainage basin in the Eastern Desert of Jordan. This site is exceptionally large and likely functioned as an aggregation locale for hunter-gatherers during the Terminal Pleistocene. For this research, Dr. Macdonald is conducting microwear analysis of the stone tool assemblage from two habitation structures found at Kharaneh IV. These structures are the earliest habitation structures in the region and provide insight into the organization of domestic space prior to the advent of permanent architecture.

antler polish imaged with a laser-scanning confocal microscope
Antler polish imaged with a laser-scanning confocal microscope

Microwear Methodological Development through Surface Metrology

As part of the Fragmented Heritage Project, Dr. Macdonald is conducting research on the quantification of lithic microwear traces. This research uses techniques, methods, and microscopes developed for the engineering field of surface metrology to quantify wear features.