Lithic Technological Changes from the Paleoindian to the Late Archaic: A Pilot Study


How do subsistence-related changes impact lithic technology over the course of thousands of years? Three stratified rockshelters in Belize contain evidence of Paleoindian through Classic Maya period occupations. This span of time witnessed the initial hunting and gathering subsistence economy of the Paleoindian period, the introduction of horticulture and increasing reliance on cultivars in the Early Archaic, and the emergence of full-scale agriculture in the Late Archaic. Explaining variations in lithic technology during these millennia can shed light on the processes underlying the slow but steady increase in plant resources that preceded the adoption of agriculture. This study analyzes several chipped stone attributes – including cortex ratio, retouch intensity and frequency, and flaking type – of lithic assemblages from one such rockshelter known as Tzib’te Yux. By examining these traits in a subsample of artifacts, the authors will establish the ability of these methods to detect technological changes over time, and create a timeline of lithic technology using absolute dating methods. This study thus serves as a pilot study for a future project that will compare changes in mobility, subsistence economy, and lithic technology at all three rockshelters using the full assemblages available at each.

Cite this Record

Lithic Technological Changes from the Paleoindian to the Late Archaic: A Pilot Study. Timothy Dennehy, Christopher Merriman, Keith M. Prufer. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443291)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22551