Establishing Provenance of Ochre from the La Prele Mammoth Site: A Geochemical Analysis
This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Red ochre is a ferrous iron oxide mineral used for cultural expression and utilitarian tasks by hominins beginning 250,000 years ago. The use of ochre continued into the New World. While its use by Paleoindians has been noted, the function and significance of ochre for these groups is not well understood. To conceive the importance of ochre to Paleoindians, it is necessary to determine the distance Paleoindians were willing to carry it. Thus, geochemical analytical techniques were applied to determine the provenance of ochre from the La Prele Mammoth site (48CO1401) in Douglas, Wyoming. The La Prele site is a ~13,000 year old mammoth processing and campsite that contains scattered ochre nodules and a prominent ochre stain. Using ICP-OES and ICP-MS analyses, the geochemical signature of La Prele ochre was established and compared to four ochre sources in Wyoming. Based on this analysis, the archaeological ochre from the La Prele site is sourced to the Powars II ochre quarry 108km away. This is direct evidence that Paleoindians were willing to carry ochre within their mobile toolkits for long distances, which speaks to its significance. These geochemical analytical techniques have potential for establishing provenance of ochre from other regions and periods.
Cite this Record
Establishing Provenance of Ochre from the La Prele Mammoth Site: A Geochemical Analysis. Sandra Zarzycka, Todd Surovell, Madeline Mackie, Spencer Pelton. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449703)
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Abstract Id(s): 23832