Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Investigating Technological Organization at the Buck Lake Site (45PI438) in Mount Rainier National Park Using a Lithic Debitage Analysis
by Schurke, Michael Charles, M.A., Portland State University, 2011, 191; 1491202
Abstract (Summary)

Few lithic analyses have been conducted or published on collections from Mount Rainier National Park (MORA). This study's lithic debitage analysis, and investigation of hunter-gatherer technological organization through time, contributes to the knowledge base and understanding of how hunter-gatherers used subalpine environments in MORA. The debitage sample is from archaeological excavations between 2005 and 2007 at a Buck Lake Site (45PI438) activity area in the subalpine environmental zone. Two cultural components were examined: the pre-Mount St. Helens Yn tephra component (before 3500 RCYBP) is thought to represent a forager-like mobility strategy and the post-Mount St. Helens Yn tephra component (after 3500 RCYBP) is thought to represent a collector-like strategy. Expectations theoretically grounded in hunter-gatherer mobility, tool design, raw material procurement, site function, and tool function were developed and tested. Results suggest that hunter-gatherers at Buck Lake relied on and maintained small, lightweight, transported bifaces made of nonlocal raw material regardless of expected changes in mobility strategy through time. For both foragers and collectors at Buck Lake, similar lithic raw material availability, terrain, and seasonality constraints and a common resource acquisition goal and overlapping site function resulted in similar hunter-gatherer technological organization strategies. Slight differences between the cultural components include: the use of more local igneous raw material in the forager-like component, the use of a more expedient technology in the collector-like cultural component, and smaller size debitage in the forager-like component. The use of expedient bipolar technology in both cultural components is possible, but only partially supported. Evidence of bipolar technology would suggest that hunter-gatherers were conserving nonlocal CCS by using the bipolar technique on exhausted transported tools or cached cores to produce expedient flakes used for small-game hunting and processing. Further research for the Buck Lake site should include: the sourcing of raw material; conducting experimental lithic reduction on toolstone found at Buck Lake to produce comparative debitage specimens; and increasing the lithic analysis sample size to include debitage recovered from 2008-2009 excavations and other artifact types.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ames, Kenneth M.
Commitee: Burtchard, Greg C., Smith, Cameron M., Wilson, Douglas C.
School: Portland State University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: MAI 49/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Archaeology, Hunter-gatherer, Lithic analysis, Mount Rainier National Park, Prehistoric, Technological organization, Washington
Publication Number: 1491202
ISBN: 9781124593708