Addressing Surface Site Palimpsests with GIS and Lithic Technology

Author(s): Christopher Merriman; Caroline Gabe

Year: 2015


Archaeologists contend with palimpsests and multicomponent surface sites on a regular basis. Although it is interesting to know that one spot on the landscape repeatedly attracted people, these sites present interpretive and methodological problems. Specifically, how can we interpret the behaviors behind non-diagnostic artifacts from multicomponent sites? In this presentation we discuss using a combination of GIS modeling and lithic analysis to better articulate the relationship between non-diagnostic and diagnostic artifacts. The assumption being that closer spatial relationships and technological consistency indicate a stronger temporal affiliation. Buffering, nearest neighbor, correlation, and correspondence analyses in GIS are used to examine spatial relationships between artifact classes. Technological and morphological attributes of flaked stone assemblages can further differentiate between broad time periods (e.g. Paleoindian, Archaic, and/or Late Prehistoric). Together these analyses can help to eliminate erroneous associations. We have selected a series of multicomponent lithic scatters with high precision spatial data from the Northern Jornada del Muerto in central New Mexico and the Lake Fork Valley in southwestern Colorado. These sites include numerous Paleoindian, Archaic, and Late Prehistoric projectile points, as well as debitage, scrapers, gravers, bifaces, and other tools that spatially overlap.

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Cite this Record

Addressing Surface Site Palimpsests with GIS and Lithic Technology. Christopher Merriman, Caroline Gabe. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395318)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;