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Lecture 14

Anthropology 2231F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Lithic Reduction, Paleo-Indians

Course Code
ANTH 2231F/G
Christopher Ellis

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Lecture 14 Part 1 Desert Archaic
Desert Archaic
Great Basin: Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico
Term coined by Jesse Jennings; no debated by what it means
o Archaic of the west believed to be fairly similar to the Archaic in the
Characteristics of Desert Archaic vs. Paleoindian
1. Notched/markedly stemmed points
o Replacing lanceolate points
2. Appearance of plant processing tools
o Mortars (metates) and grinding stones (manos)
o More important part of their diet (different from east)
3. Expedient tools
o Used then thrown away
o Chipped stone tools
4. Appearance of ground-stone tools
o Axes, etc.
o Not as elaborate as the ones in the east, these are much more
functional tools than works of art created in the east
5. Use of local stones
o Not moving materials over long distances like they were before
6. Increasing regional variability
7. More sites
o Some relatively elaborate structures
8. No Ceramics
o Same as East
Desert Archaic
Time period of “settling in” to take advantage of larger number of
o Appearance of plant processing tools suggests reliance on more plant
o Still hunter-gatherers
o Still no agriculture
o No ceramics
When did the Desert Archaic end?
Some base it on appearance of ceramics, others on introduction of
o Ceramics introduced around 1,800 BP (200 AD)
o Agriculture started 3,000 BP (1,000 BC)
Not adopted at the same time everywhere, some areas neither were adopted
Argued it lasted up until European contact (1500-1600)
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