The laboratory is a repository for one of the largest collections in North America of chipped stone artifacts (>500,000) recovered from prehistoric sites in the Near East. The lithic assemblages largely represent southern Levantine industries stretching over an interval of ~250,000 years. These include those of the late Lower Paleolithic (Late Acheulean), Middle Paleolithic (Levantine Mousterian), Upper Paleolithic (Early Ahmarian, Levantine Aurignacian), Epipaleolithic (Qalkhan, Hamran, Mushabian, and Natufian), Early Neolithic (PPNA, PPNB), Late Neolithic, and Chalcolithic.
An unusual aspect of the artifact assemblages is that most were recovered using similar excavation techniques that involved high resolution proveniences (typically spits of a quarter meter by 5-10cm levels) and 3mm mesh sieving of excavated matrix. Moreover, the artifacts are archived by the fine-grain provenience of their recovery. These features make the collection ideal for study in that sampling and associated quantitative analyses can be undertaken with confidence.
The collection is recognized internationally as an important resource for researchers. Beyond being used as the basis for numerous theses here at TU, students from Oxford, Hebrew University, Harvard, Arizona State (2), SMU, University of Durham, and others have used the collection in their doctoral research. Additionally, it provides a unique, hands-on teaching tool for use in many of our courses at undergraduate and graduate levels.