Anthropology 2233F/G Lecture Notes - Lake Simcoe, Muskox, Arctic Fox

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Published on 25 Sep 2013
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Sept, 18, 2013
The Paleo-Indians
Lithic Technology:
-Stone tools are often the only artifacts that are found on Great Lakes Paleo-Indian and Archaic sites and lithic
specialists conduct experiments to understand how stone tools were made through the process of flintknapping
-There is a basic distinction between chipped stone tools and ground stone tools
Ground Stone Tools:
-Are usually made of fairly course grained metamorphic or igneous rocks and they are made by pecking and
grinding stone (involves pecking a rock with a harder rock called a hammerstone and then grinding it against
another rock or grinding stone) but this does not appear until the Archaic period and they were used to make large
woodworking tools such as celts, adzes, and chisels
Chipped Stone Tools:
-This is the main category of tools that are often found and they were more for heavy working of objects
-They are made by chipping or flaking very fine grained stone like chert, flint, or obsidian
-Chert is a sedimentary rock found throughout the Great Lakes region, flint is another fine grained material similar
to chert that is found as nodules in limestone and chalks primarily in the Old World, and obsidian is volcanic rock or
volcanic glass that is usually black and often translucent (green variety was highly valued)
Fracture Properties of Chert, Flint, and other Silicious Rocks:
-A conchoidal fracture is when lines of force radiate out from the point of impact in a conical fashion causing the
material to fracture in predictable way
-Flintknapping is a reductive technology because you begin with a piece of stone (a core) and shape it into a tool by
reducing the core to produce a core tool where as a flake tool is made from a flake that has been detached from
the core but this can only make non-accurate and non-elaborate tools
Percussion and Pressure Flaking:
-Percussion flaking is done with a percussor (hammer) with a hammerstone used for hard hammer percussion
-Hardhammer percussion was used in the early stages of forming an object because it was just for preliminary
shaping
-Antler or wooden billet is used for soft hammer percussion
-Bi-polar percussion is where a pebble or cobble is placed on an anvil stone and hit from the top and indirect
percussion is where a punch is placed on the core and used to direct the force when it is hit with a hammerstone
-Bi-polar percussion was only used when good materials were in short supply and this method was very difficult
-Pressure flaking uses a bone or antler tool (pressure flaker) and is used to press small flakes from the edge of the
core or tool and this is also a finishing or re-sharpening technique
-Debitage or chipping detritus is waste material from flintknapping creating chert flakes and this debris is key to
seeing how they were making their tools because we can identify flake types and if we see large chunks left behind
it is clear that they had materials in good supply and were not worried about the waste
-Bifacial tools (bifaces) have flakes removed from both faces/sides (ex: projectile points)
-Unifacial tools have flakes removed from one side only (ex: most scrapers)
Projectile Points:
-We can recognize specific groups of people by their artifacts because all have unique aspects to them
-Preforms were often made and carried on for later reduction into a usable point and on sites it is common to find
broken preforms that were discarded because of some mistake that was made during shaping
-They change systematically over broad areas
-Include arrowheads or spear points and forms vary from triangular to lanceolate (leaf shaped)
-Similar forms are defined as projectile point types and styles/types change over time and this allows us to date
points relatively using seriation (the process of placing artifact assemblages in a time series based on style)
-A diagnostic artifact has the characteristics of artifacts of an archaeological culture
-Blanks or preforms are unfinished projectile points that have been roughly shaped usually into an ovate or
triangular form
-A hafting element is the base portion of a tool that is inserted into a haft or handle and this may be stemmed, side
notched, corner notched, or un-stemmed and these can show us how the points were being attached and often
times the ends were ground smooth so they wouldn’t cut through their ties
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Sept, 18, 2013
-Flaking patterns may be parallel and highly patterned or random and non-patterned
-Fluting is the removal of a large flake from the base of a lanceolate Paleo-Indian point to create a channel running
up from the base of the point and the flake that is removed is a channel flake
Southern Ontario Cherts:
-Experts can identify cherts by eye but the are often sent away to be further analyzed in labs when the time and
money can be spared and the locations of outcrops are important because we can see where different tools
probably originated from and outcrops are usually known by their formation name (some also by their location)
-We can also track who traded with who by seeing where distinct cherts end up
-Kettle Point outcrops on the Lake Huron shoreline near Port Franks and cherts from there have a distinctive waxy
lustre and thin flakes are translucent and the colour ranges from dark brown, dark blue-grey or mauve and these
are the highest quality
-Onondaga outcrops along the Onondaga escarpment between Hagersville and Port Colborne on Lake Erie and it is
a relatively low outcrop and the cherts are light to medium grey with brown and grey mottling and it is highest
quality when dark grey
-Bois Blanc or Haldimand chert occurs stratigraphically just under the Onondaga and is found in the same areas
and it varies from a very light whitish colour to a light grey and it was favoured by some Late Paleo-Indian groups
which helps us identify older sites
-Fossil Hill (Collingwood) chert outcrops along the Niagara escarpment south of Collingwood and it can be white to
bluish white and it is often speckled and banded and it was one of the preferred cherts of Early Paleo-Indians
Exotic Cherts found in the Lower Great Lakes:
-Bayport is found in the Bayport formation near Saginaw Bay Michigan and it is light brown to light or dark grey
and it has high fossil content and sometimes has concentric banding
-Upper Mercer is found in the Upper Mercer formation in Ohio and it ranges in colour from black to light bluish
grey and it is often mottled with lighter coloured material
-Flint Ridge is very high quality translucent chalcedony from Ohio and it ranges from light brown to caramel colour
and waxy lustre and it is common on Middle Woodland sites and it is not commonly found in SW Ontario until later
because they were not trading that far yet
Early Paleo-Indians in the Lower Great Lakes:
-The term is used to refer to the earliest well-documented groups in the Americas beginning ca. 12,000 rcybp
(radiocarbon years before present), to refer to the similarity in artifact forms from sites across the unglaciated
parts of North America in the Late Wisconsin, and to a way of life with a focus on big game hunting (especially late
glacial mega fauna like bison, mammoths, mastodon) but new evidence shows that this generalization is not true
-Point types are divided into Early and Late Paleo-Indian where the Early points are fluted and the Late are not
Clovis and Folsom in the West:
-Clovis dates from 11,500 - 11,000 BP and Folsom 11,000 - 10,200 BP and they were fluted bifaces, knives, gravers,
and end scrapers used by specialized hunters of large mammals including now extinct mega fauna
-Folsom points have almost their whole face fluted and carbon dates for outside of the Great Lakes are what we
rely on to date our points because they are generally older in the west and there is little organic preservation on
our sites which makes them hard to date
Dating Early Paleo-Indian Sites and Point Types in the North East:
-C-14 dated sites in the east include Debert (NS), Vail (Maine) and Hiscock and Arc (NY) and all date to between
11,000 and 10,300 BP
-Lake Algonquin drained ca. 10,400 BP and there are no EPI sites on its lakebed
-Glacial Lake Iroquois (in the Lake Ontario basin) drained ca. 12,100 years ago and there are EPI sites on the
lakebed so they postdate 12,100 years ago
Early Paleo-Indian Chert Procurement:
-Fossil Hill chert comprises over 80% of chert on four sites in the southern L. Huron basin that is 175-200 km south
of the chert source and Ellis and Deller argue for direct procurement because there is high percentages of far away
chert on home bases which would suggest they went to sites, took preforms home, and shaped them there
-This helps us because we can see how big their territories were and we know that they wanted high quality
material and they made it part of their season round to go get it and the fact that points are re-sharpened for so
long shows that they were willing to wait to get their hands on the materials they wanted
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Document Summary

Stone tools are often the only artifacts that are found on great lakes paleo-indian and archaic sites and lithic specialists conduct experiments to understand how stone tools were made through the process of flintknapping. There is a basic distinction between chipped stone tools and ground stone tools. This is the main category of tools that are often found and they were more for heavy working of objects. They are made by chipping or flaking very fine grained stone like chert, flint, or obsidian. Fracture properties of chert, flint, and other silicious rocks: A conchoidal fracture is when lines of force radiate out from the point of impact in a conical fashion causing the material to fracture in predictable way. Percussion flaking is done with a percussor (hammer) with a hammerstone used for hard hammer percussion. Hardhammer percussion was used in the early stages of forming an object because it was just for preliminary shaping.

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