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Lithic collection : Centre de Référence Lithique du Québec (CRLQ)

Collections lithique

The CRLQ is a comparative lithic reference collection that was created by archaeologist Yvon Codère to help archaeologists working in Quebec and the greater Northeast. It contains over 500 geologic samples of rocks that were potentially used in the past to make stone tools. Samples are primarily from Quebec but also include rocks from the northeastern states and adjacent provinces. The collection is housed today at the department of Anthropology of the Université de Montréal and is managed by Dr. Adrian L. Burke ( In 2004, Avataq joined the CRLQ project and added its own reference collection to the CRLQ. The Nunavik collection is housed at the department of Archaeology of the Avataq Cultural Institute in Montréal and is managed by Pierre M. Desrosiers.

Each sample in the drawer is catalogued using a code based on the state or province of origin, the administrative zone (Quebec only), and a sequential number for the sample (e.g., QU-10-34). Each sample is associated with detailed information for various categories: geologic formation/group and published references, geographic origin, macroscopic and low-power microscopic descriptions of hand samples, Munsell color codes, etc. Photos of those samples are available and will be added to the database as it evolves.

Consulting the collection
The collection may be consulted in person by accredited researchers by contacting Adrian Burke ( Some additional samples for lithic sources in Arctic Quebec (Nunavik) are also available for consultation at the Montreal offices of the Avataq Cultural Institute by contacting Pierre M. Desrosiers (

Future research
The CRLQ collection continues to evolve with samples being added by archaeologists and geologists in Quebec and the greater Northeast. Many of the geologic samples have already had petrographic analysis done on thin sections as well as geochemistry (XRF, SEM, NAA) and some of these results are published. A series of bulletins named Asini originally published by Yvon Codère on the collection and its specific lithic raw materials are available for download as well as other documents.

Call for contributions
Since its creation, the CRLQ has always been looking for new samples to add to the collection. This is why we encourage archaeologists to collect and provide the center with new samples. Because raw materials sometimes travel long distances the center is always looking to develop new collaborations in order to share information as broadly as possible.

The online database
Avataq is pleased to provide the CRLQ database online. To use the database search engine you can click on some of the boxes to see the scroll down menu or you can directly type the word you are looking for.

Lithic Reference Center of Quebec Bulletins

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