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The Paleo-Indians.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
Anthropology 2233F/G
Professor
Peter Timmins
Semester
Fall

Description
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 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 Sept, 18, 2013 -The Shoop site (Pennsylvania) is dominated by Onondaga chert but the outcrops are 350 km north and this suggests that EPI groups had very large territories because most EPI sites that are distant from chert sources have much small debitage from tool maintenance -Their tools were heavily curated rather than expedient A Fluted Point with a Detachable Foreshaft: -It is not clear whether fluted point technology involved thrusting spears, thrown spears or use of the atlatl (throwing stick) but if detachable foreshafts were used with thrusting spears, the spear could be “reloaded” after the point was thrust into an animal -Bone foreshafts have been recovered from Paleo sites in the west and most fluted points have basal grinding which is a hafting modification to prevent the basal edges from cutting the hafting material Early Paleo-Indian Projectile Points: -Three types have been identified which are Gainey ca 10,900-10,700 BP, Barnes ca 10,700-10,500 BP, and Crowfield ca 10,500 BP -Gainey is the largest and they have parallel lancelets with deep basal cavities similar to Clovis -Barnes is smaller, leaf shaped, and with longer flutes constricting at the base but they can have fishtail shapes and the Parkhill Complex provides its’ diagnostic tools -Crowfield are broader and thinner with multiple fluting marks and they are found over wide spread areas and they are impressive because of their thinness and that they were not broken (maybe had a steadying tool) Early Paleo-Indian Bifacial Tools: -T
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