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Flint Scatter

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A general term applied to collections of worked flint, stone, debitage, and associated raw material gathered up from the surface of ploughed fields or disturbed ground. Such collections range in size from a few dozen through to many thousands of pieces, and may have been collected from areas of any size from a few metres across to several hectares. As such they do not represent distinct kinds of archaeological site but rather the archaeological manifestation of many different kinds of activity; their unity is a product of the way material has been recovered rather than the processes by which it was created in the first place. Much work has been devoted to characterizing flint scatters in terms of what they represent. It is now clear that some are caused by the erosion of underlying features and deposits which relate to a vast range of activities including settlements, stoneworking sites, and middens. In other cases the scatters reflect episodes of activity in the past that involved little more than the deposition of material on the contemporary ground surface which has subsequently become incorporated into the topsoil through natural and anthropogenic formation processes.