Pre Clovis at Topper (38AL23): Evaluating the Role of Human versus Natural Agency in the Formation of Lithic Deposits from a Pleistocene Terrace in the American Southeast
Author(s): Douglas Sain
This paper examines the lithic materials from the presumed pre-Clovis deposits at the Topper Site (38AL23), a Paleoindian quarry and stone tool manufacture site in Allendale County, South Carolina. Prior research at Topper identified flakes and possible chipped stone tools from Pleistocene-aged sediments that predate Clovis, traditionally considered the earliest culture complex in the region. The goal of this study is to document the nature of the pre-Clovis assemblage at Topper, and to explore possible ways it may have formed. Did human or natural processes play a role in the production of the reported assemblage? Experimental analyses demonstrate that chert is susceptible to fracture when exposed to episodes of weathering. Natural processes can result in the formation of detachments that resemble the morphological properties of flakes and bend breaks but lack the technological attributes that are characteristic of human lithic manufacture. The presence of technological attributes consistent with human agency on flakes and bend breaks from Pleistocene deposits at Topper support the proposition that these items served a functional role for pre-Clovis occupants at the site. The results of this study present a unique record of the behaviors of Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers of the Southeast U.S.
Cite this Record
Pre Clovis at Topper (38AL23): Evaluating the Role of Human versus Natural Agency in the Formation of Lithic Deposits from a Pleistocene Terrace in the American Southeast. Douglas Sain. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405129)
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min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;