Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2021

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Committee Chair

Patrick T. McCutcheon

Second Committee Member

Steven Hackenberger

Third Committee Member

Karisa Terry


Due to a relatively recent trend toward universal use of screens with ⅛-inch (0.32 cm) mesh-sized openings, archaeologists in the Pacific Northwest have expressed concerns regarding the overall utility of collection and analysis of 0.32 cm (⅛-inch) mesh-sized lithic debitage. Recovering and analyzing these small-sized artifacts is a time-intensive endeavor that adds costs to fieldwork and laboratory tasks. The information potential from attribute analysis of 0.32 cm (⅛-inch) mesh-sized lithic debitage when a site’s lithic assemblage consists of mainly debitage is largely missing from the programmatic literature. The Sunrise Ridge Borrow Pit Site (45PI408), located on the slopes of Mount Rainier, WA provides the ideal opportunity to evaluate the analytical contribution of 0.32 cm (⅛-inch) mesh-sized lithic artifacts in relation to ≥ 0.63 cm (≥ ¼-inch) mesh-sized lithic artifacts. The results of the attribute analysis of all 0.32 cm (n = 9,086) mesh-sized lithic debitage were combined with and compared to the results of the analysis of just the ≥ 0.63 cm (n = 3,672) mesh-sized lithics at 45PI408. Data resampling was used to describe changes in sample representativeness. Results included increase in pressure flake platform type, exotic raw material type, and terminal reduction class frequencies. The combined lithic size class sample changed certain site descriptions and placed conclusions drawn from them on more solid statistical and interpretative ground. Results including proportional increases in high temperature alteration and unworn artifacts and a proportional decrease of obsidian raw material type through time support previous site interpretations and are consistent with expectations set forth in regional land use models.