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The Scatter between the Scatter between the Patches: A Tephrostratigraphic Approach to Low-density Archaeological Sites in the Eastern Lake Victoria Basin of Kenya

Author(s): Christian Tryon ; Nick Blegen ; J. Tyler Faith

Year: 2017

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Summary

Among recent groups, foraging activities are unevenly distributed across the landscape. Archaeological traces of past foragers are also spatially variable as a result of multiple factors, including the redundancy of site use, a bias towards tasks that leave well-defined material traces likely to preserve into the present (e.g., stone tool manufacture), and local sedimentological factors that mediate site preservation through burial as well as subsequent recovery through erosion or excavation. Landscape-scale studies of past foragers do not provide ethnographic snapshots of the past, but rather recognize and use the time-averaged nature of the record. Widespread deposits of volcanic ash, or tephra, are particularly useful in this context, particularly as stratigraphic markers. As the products of a single eruption, tephras are chemically distinct, amenable to direct chronometric dating and can bury paleolandscapes as well as surface and subsurface archaeological and paleontological sites. We use multiple widespread Late Pleistocene tephra deposits exposed in outcrops around the eastern margin of Lake Victoria to constrain and guide our examination of spatial variability in Middle Stone Age artifacts, fossil fauna, and depositional environments in a region that, while dominated by the largest lake in Africa today, was an expansive grassland in the past.


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The Scatter between the Scatter between the Patches: A Tephrostratigraphic Approach to Low-density Archaeological Sites in the Eastern Lake Victoria Basin of Kenya. Christian Tryon, Nick Blegen, J. Tyler Faith. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430968)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14556

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