Using Microartifacts to Investigate Prehistoric Cooking Methods at the Archaeological Site of Dust Cave
Microartifacts - generally considered to be artifacts measuring less than 6.35 mm (¼ inch) - have traditionally received little attention in North American archaeology. We argue that microartifacts are not simply smaller versions of larger artifacts, but rather provide different and complimentary data. This study investigates microartifacts from the archaeological site of Dust Cave (10,650-3,600 BCE), located in northwest Alabama, in order to better understand prehistoric diet and cooking technologies. Our goals are twofold. First, we examine microartifacts from four different feature morphologies (which vary in shape and size) to see if the micro debris reflects differences in what was cooked and/or how foods were cooked over time. We then integrate the microartifact data with previously published faunal and experimental results. Second, we advocate for taking a more robust approach to microartifact data analyses to include ubiquity and diversity measures in addition to the more commonly used density measures of comparison. Preliminary results suggest that while some features were multipurpose in function, others were more specialized for processing particular kinds of foods using cooking methods ranging from broiling, to steaming, to parching. Finally, cooking technologies appear to remain surprisingly homogenous through time until the Middle Archaic.
Cite this Record
Using Microartifacts to Investigate Prehistoric Cooking Methods at the Archaeological Site of Dust Cave. Harley Burgis, Lara Homsey-Messer. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442764)
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min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21469