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El Sauz chert: physical and chemical characterization of a long-used lithic resource in south Texas

Author(s): Russell Skowronek ; Juan Gonzalez ; James Hinthore ; Ronald Bishop

Year: 2016

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El Sauz chert is a lithic resource in south Texas that was used to make stone tools dating from Early Archaic (3500-6000 BC) to Late Prehistoric (AD 700) times. Located in Starr County, Texas a few miles north of the Rio Grande are two chert quarries associated with altered rhyolitic ash of the Catahoula Formation. Given its restricted occurrence, El Sauz chert offers a unique opportunity to study prehistoric exchange and resource procurement. Tools of this chert are common east of the restricted source locality, but very few artifacts have been found to the west. Previous studies published in Lithic Technology, have identified distinctive chemical and physical characteristics of El Sauz, including its high aluminum content, abundant vugs, opalized veins, smeared colorations, and pale yellowish-green fluorescence under short-wave ultraviolet light. Here we present new neutron activation analyses (30 elements) and Portable XRF data (10 elements) to further constrain its origin and mode of formation, and to provide criteria to differentiate tools made from El Sauz from those derived from other chert sources.

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El Sauz chert: physical and chemical characterization of a long-used lithic resource in south Texas. Russell Skowronek, Juan Gonzalez, James Hinthore, Ronald Bishop. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405171)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;

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