Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Lithic scavengers: An analysis of lithic recycling behavior in the Archaic Owyhee Desert of Nevada
by Yaquinto, Brian P., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2012, 221; 1511529
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines lithic recycling behavior in northern Nevada during the Archaic Period in order to develop an understanding of regional prehistoric raw material use and procurement. I draw inferences about lithic artifact reuse and artifact modification at the landscape level during the Archaic period using obsidian hydration and morphological and observational inferences of lithic debitage. My study demonstrates that archaeologists need to recognize the extent to which groups reused and recycled lithic raw material from "cultural quarries" in order to accurately interpret lithic assemblages.

I demonstrate that Early and Middle Archaic hunter-gatherers facilitated scavenging behavior during the Late Archaic period in the northern Great Basin by transporting lithic raw material as bifacial cores into the Owyhee Desert, a region with no naturally occurring outcroppings of lithic raw material. Over 7000 years of bifacial core technology resulted in the formation of a "culturally-determined landscape of lithic debris" (Sassaman and Green 1993:216). Sassaman and Green (1993:214) refer to those deposits of scavengable resources as "cultural quarries" where Late Archaic toolmakers could obtain toolstone. Prehistoric groups likely scavenged and recycled toolstone in such locations in times of need. My analysis of lithic recycling, using obsidian studies, (i.e., obsidian hydration and X-ray florescence analysis) and lithic analysis, shows that Late Archaic foragers scavenged and recycled lithic material from older sites in the Owyhee Desert of the northern Great Basin.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smiley, Francis E.
Commitee: Fawcett, William B., Thompson, Kerry F., Vannette, Walter M.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 50/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Native American studies
Keywords: Great Basin, Lithic, Nevada, Obsidian hydration, Recycling, Scavenging
Publication Number: 1511529
ISBN: 978-1-267-36805-8
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