Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Room 137B

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

Lithics, Archaeology, 45PI408

Abstract

Prior research on the Sunrise Ridge Borrow Pit Site artifact assemblage has shown significant intra-site variation in stone tool manufacture and use. These findings were in some ways contrary to the expectations found within theoretical models of prehistoric land use at Mt. Rainier. Unfortunately, many of the previous investigations were limited by small sample sizes and the inability to determine if subtle differences were meaningful. Our research places an emphasis on using an evolutionary archaeological framework to combine previously analyzed collections, determine if there is evidence of change through time or across space, and attempts to identify selective conditions under which stone tools were made and used. Recent large scale excavations have increased sample sizes (+2,328 artifacts ≥ ¼”) and the subsequent lithic analysis has continued to assess intra-site variation. It appears as though lithic industries are relatively consistent through time, with some variation in heavy use areas of site. Including a shift away from non-local raw materials as well as variability in environmental conditions. Typically, curated technologies, which require more preparation than expedient technologies, are represented in the lithic assemblage. This is likely a consequence of the harsh environmental conditions at Mt. Rainier rather than any particular settlement and subsistence systems taking place at lower elevations. Additional evidence of the past environmental conditions that may have altered stone tool use in the Mt. Rainier area include increased fire frequency and the absence of gastroliths, or avian gizzard stones, in recent archaeological components.

Faculty Mentor(s)

McCutcheon, Patrick

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology and Museum Studies

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May 15th, 10:40 AM May 15th, 11:00 AM

Results from the Continued Lithic Analysis of the Sunrise Ridge Borrow Pit Site (45PI408), Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington

SURC Room 137B

Prior research on the Sunrise Ridge Borrow Pit Site artifact assemblage has shown significant intra-site variation in stone tool manufacture and use. These findings were in some ways contrary to the expectations found within theoretical models of prehistoric land use at Mt. Rainier. Unfortunately, many of the previous investigations were limited by small sample sizes and the inability to determine if subtle differences were meaningful. Our research places an emphasis on using an evolutionary archaeological framework to combine previously analyzed collections, determine if there is evidence of change through time or across space, and attempts to identify selective conditions under which stone tools were made and used. Recent large scale excavations have increased sample sizes (+2,328 artifacts ≥ ¼”) and the subsequent lithic analysis has continued to assess intra-site variation. It appears as though lithic industries are relatively consistent through time, with some variation in heavy use areas of site. Including a shift away from non-local raw materials as well as variability in environmental conditions. Typically, curated technologies, which require more preparation than expedient technologies, are represented in the lithic assemblage. This is likely a consequence of the harsh environmental conditions at Mt. Rainier rather than any particular settlement and subsistence systems taking place at lower elevations. Additional evidence of the past environmental conditions that may have altered stone tool use in the Mt. Rainier area include increased fire frequency and the absence of gastroliths, or avian gizzard stones, in recent archaeological components.