The Lithic Microwear and Technology Laboratory is located in the Department of Anthropology, University of Tulsa. We are interested in exploring ancient human behavior through the application of microwear analysis to archaeological assemblages. Microwear analysis studies microscopic traces, such as striations, polish, and micro-fractures, left on artifact surfaces through their use and deposition history. Through the analysis of these traces, we can interpret past tool function.
The Lithic Microwear and Technology Laboratory houses a large experimental lithic microwear reference collection for comparative analysis with archaeological assemblages. The majority of these artifacts were produced by Dr. George Odell and his students during his tenure at the University of Tulsa. Dr. Danielle Macdonald has an ongoing experimental program that is continuing to build these collections. Current research being conducted in the lab includes the digitization of the experimental collections for the creation of an online microwear reference database, microwear analysis of lithics from prehistoric sites in Jordan, and further experimental work for methodological development of microwear practice.
Dr. Macdonald’s current research explores hunter-gatherer aggregation through material culture to understand how individuals organized tasks at the Terminal Pleistocene site of Kharaneh IV, Jordan. Her other interests include method development for lithic microwear analysis and the applications of 3D microscopy for archaeological research. This research is developing new methods for the quantification of microwear traces through the use of microscopes developed for the field of surface metrology. Dr. Macdonald is currently the co-director of the Kharaneh IV excavation project in the Azraq Basin, Jordan.