Cultural Landscapes of Glass Buttes, Oregon

Author(s): Kristen Fuld; Terry Ozbun

Year: 2018


Located on the northern fringe of the Great Basin, in Lake County, Oregon, the Glass Buttes volcanic complex is the most important obsidian toolstone source in North America. Glass Buttes obsidian is world renowned because it is colorful, abundant, available in large pieces, and of extremely high quality for making flaked stone tools. Throughout the late Pleistocene and Holocene, Native Americans have continuously used Glass Buttes obsidian, and it was widely traded in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Glass Buttes obsidian has also been historically instrumental in pioneering archaeological lithic technology research and is of special importance to the modern flintknapping community. Now, new research shows that in addition to being a major obsidian toolstone source, Glass Buttes is also a focal point in a Native American spiritual landscape punctuated by hundreds of rock features. These rock features comprise a complex associated with the prominent Glass Buttes peak. This spiritual landscape overlays the lithic landscape and the two are inexorably linked together. On-going ethnographic research conducted by Native American tribes is revealing another dimension to this important place and elucidates the relationships between the cultural landscapes of ancient times as well as in the present.

Cite this Record

Cultural Landscapes of Glass Buttes, Oregon. Kristen Fuld, Terry Ozbun. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444021)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.189; min lat: 31.803 ; max long: -105.469; max lat: 43.58 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 19979