Microwear on Shell Beads at Cluny Fortified Village (EePf-1)

Author(s): Shalcey Dowkes; Margaret Patton

Year: 2017


Beads in many forms have been used as decorative items on the Great Plains during the historic and prehistoric periods. Cluny Fortified Village (EePf-1), dating just prior to European contact, is an intrusive village unique on the Northwestern Plains. The unique artifact assemblage at the site offers information on the understudied topic of prehistoric shell bead production on the Northern Plains using local bivalves. During the past ten years, a number of shell beads, shell bead blanks, and waste materials have been recovered during excavation. Research elsewhere on bead production has suggested the use of drills to form the hole of the bead. However, at EePf-1 there are relatively few lithic drills despite the amount of shell beads uncovered. As shell is a relatively soft material, several materials are considered for use as drills including bone, wood, and lithic tools. Analysis of shell beads from the site indicates a variety of bead types and provides evidence connecting potential drill materials to bead production. Microwear analysis of finished and partially finished beads provides details on drilling methods and evidence of drill material. Microwear on suspected drills from the site also indicates whether or not these tools were used in bead production.

Cite this Record

Microwear on Shell Beads at Cluny Fortified Village (EePf-1). Shalcey Dowkes, Margaret Patton. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429458)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17283