Stoneworking in Eureka Valley: Archeological Investigations at the Eureka Dunes Site (CA-INY-2489)


The National Park Service conducted archeological investigations at the Eureka Dunes archeological site (CA-INY-2489) within Death Valley National Park. Proposed developments to protect the unique Eureka Dunes ecosystem would affect less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the archeological site. However, the archeological work was designed to investigate the whole site. Archeological field work included mapping, intensive controlled surface collection, and subsurface testing. Over 26,000 artifacts were recovered, the overwhelming majority of which were flaked stone.

Chronological data indicate the site was used from as early as 4500 B.C. to late prehistoric times. The Eureka Dunes Site is primarily a surface manifestation, but evidence suggests that different parts of the 4 km-long site correspond, in large part, to different time periods. Numerous fire-cracked rock features were identified at the site and seven of the features were excavated. Because of the large size of the site, even the 42,975 square meters of surface collection and 34 square meters of excavation units completed constitute a small sample, and inferences must be considered preliminary. Nevertheless the investigations yielded intriguing data on the use of Saline Valley obsidian and Last Chance green-grey chert, both available locally and widely traded. Some evidence suggests the fire-cracked rock features may be related to the heat-treatment of chert to make it easier to fashion into stone tools.

Definitive interpretations await further research, but these investigations do indicate that the Eureka Dunes Site has the data and integrity necessary to address a number of significant research questions. The

site therefore appears eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Although the current work has mitigated the effects of the proposed developments, monitoring is recommended to ensure protection

of the site, and additional research is recommended to realize the site's full information potential.

Cite this Record

Stoneworking in Eureka Valley: Archeological Investigations at the Eureka Dunes Site (CA-INY-2489). Jeffery F. Burton, William W. Bloomer, Lynn Johnson. Publications in Anthropology ,78. Tucson, Arizona: Western Archeological and Conservation Center. 2000 ( tDAR id: 4337) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8NS0S2Q

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Investigation Types
Site Evaluation / Testing

Geographic Keywords
California Eureka Valley

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1 to 1800

Spatial Coverage

min long: -117.721; min lat: 37.035 ; max long: -117.551; max lat: 37.145 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Laura S. Bergstresser; Lethia Cerda; Nikole Christianson; Mary M. Farrell; Michele A. Martz; Craig E. Skinner; Jennifer J. Thatcher; Dana York

File Information

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pia-78-deva.pdf 6.48mb Oct 16, 2010 10:43:14 AM Public