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Raw Material Provisioning and Tool Rejuvenation Practices: Environmental Change and Technological Tensions in the Middle Archaic of the North Carolina Piedmont

Author(s): Paul Thacker

Year: 2016

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Summary

Flaked stone artifact assemblages from stratified contexts in central North Carolina reveal a significant shift in lithic technological organization during the Middle Archaic period. Important changes in raw material provisioning, biface production strategies, resharpening techniques, and stone tool discard behaviors broadly correlate with regional environmental shifts attributed to the mid-Holocene Optimum. Technological and site organizational changes may arise out of an emerging strategy of provisioning longer duration campsite locations with stone raw material as Middle Archaic populations intensified use of patchy subsistence resources in the foothills and piedmont east of the Appalachian Mountains. In contrast to the tool transportability and raw material conservation strategies evident from earlier assemblages, Late Middle Archaic and Late Archaic bifaces exhibit a decrease in lithic economizing and reuse behavior. This paper illustrates the potential error of assuming analytical equivalency of biface technology throughout the Archaic and questions the utility of direct metric index comparison. Controlling chronological variation in stone tool use-lives and raw material reduction strategies is a necessary prerequisite to linking patterns in stone tool assemblages with broader prehistoric subsistence and settlement organization caused by climate change.


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Raw Material Provisioning and Tool Rejuvenation Practices: Environmental Change and Technological Tensions in the Middle Archaic of the North Carolina Piedmont. Paul Thacker. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403435)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

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