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What Goes Up Must Come Down: The Contribution of Upland Archaeology in Connecticut's Trap-Rock Ridges to Late Archaic Cultural Prehistory

Author(s): Cosimo Sgarlata

Year: 2015

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My dissertation research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York which I completed in 2009 involved survey of West Rock Ridge, one of many Triassic "trap-rock" ridges in Connecticut's Central Valley. These are very rugged Triassic landforms made entirely of basalt or diabase that rise like long linear spines above Connecticut's otherwise level and fertile Central Valley. The question of the research was whether data from this new and untested setting could contribute new insights into Prehistory of South Central Connecticut. Lithic analysis of numerous Late Archaic sites indicated not only intensive utilization, but also a wide variety of site types including ambush hunting, lookouts, seasonal camps and quarrying. Sources of lithic raw material included quartz, hornfels, and basalt from the ridges, but also a previously unknown high quality chalcedony originating from the geological processes which from which the ridges formed. Both the intensity and variety of Late Archaic occupation, in the absence of significant information from other cultural periods, accords well with a model postulating intensification of land use along with incorporation of more marginal environments; in coincidence with increasing population density for Late Archaic foragers, and packing of local territorial groups.

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What Goes Up Must Come Down: The Contribution of Upland Archaeology in Connecticut's Trap-Rock Ridges to Late Archaic Cultural Prehistory. Cosimo Sgarlata. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397372)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

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Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America