Analyzing activity areas when only one material remains: The interpretation of low density, "empty" spaces in open air Middle Paleolithic sites
Author(s): Amy Clark
It is common for open air sites dating to the Pleistocene to lack organic preservation, including bone. Many of these sites also do not contain features such as hearths. Therefore, the dominant signal that remains is the result of lithic reduction. Because knapping is a reductive process, it creates a large amount of waste material and this debris dominates the artifact count numerically and volumetrically. Lithic pieces associated with other types of activities, such as wood working or butchering, can easily be overlooked when dealing with such a quantitative bias. Furthermore, most archaeologists would be hesitant to identify an "activity area" based on the presence of only one artifact, even if that artifact has been associated with a particular activity through use wear analysis. The lack of organic debris makes such a conclusion unwarranted. This presentation will focus on a method that highlights these so-called "empty" areas and places them on equal footing with the high density concentrations of material. It is argued that these low density/blank zones are as important to the site’s structure as the dense clusters of debris, particularly for sites with limited preservation.
SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
- Mind the Gap: Archaeological Approaches to Null Data Spaces •
- Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)
Cite this Record
Analyzing activity areas when only one material remains: The interpretation of low density, "empty" spaces in open air Middle Paleolithic sites. Amy Clark. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397027)
min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;