Late Pleistocene lithic technological organization on the southern Oregon coast : investigations at Indian Sands (35-CU-67C) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/08612q96t

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  • Excavations conducted at Indian Sands (35-CU-67C), located along Oregon's southern coast, during 2002 and 2003 identified two discreet, artifact-bearing stratigraphic units. The uppermost unit is a deflated surface containing burnt shell and lithic artifacts associated with early Holocene ¹⁴C dates, while the underlying unit contained only lithic tools and debitage, some of which were associated with a ¹⁴C date of 10,430 ± 150 RCYBP. The late Pleistocene lithic assemblage at 35-CU-67C provides the earliest evidence for human presence on the Oregon coast to date. Analysis performed on the late Pleistocene assemblage addresses the validity of existing hypotheses regarding the nature of early Oregon coastal hunter-gatherer technological and subsistence strategies. These hypotheses are focused on whether early populations on the Oregon coast practiced a generalist-forager or collector subsistence strategy. Using theoretical approaches that deal with the organization of hunter-gatherer technology, analyses were conducted on the lithic tool and debitage assemblages at 35-CU- 67C in order to infer past hunter-gatherer behavior. Through the implementation of multiple tool and debitage analysis methodologies, issues of hunter-gatherer mobility, raw material procurement, stages of lithic reduction, tool production, and site function are presented. The data generated by the late Pleistocene lithic assemblage at 35-CU-67C are compared with the overlying surficial assemblage, additional early sites along the North American Pacific coast, and to contemporaneous sites located further inland within the Pacific Northwest region. Results of the lithic analyses at 35-CU-67C show distinct similarities in debitage trends between the assemblages of each stratigraphic unit. However, when tool assemblages from these units are compared, discrepancies in the types and amount of tools are found. Reasons for intra-site variability and similarity are explained through raw material studies and site function at 35-CU-67C. Additionally, similarities between the early tool assemblage at 35-CU-67C and those found in early tool assemblages on the extended Pacific coast and interior Pacific Northwest regions are discussed. This thesis demonstrates that early southern Oregon coastal populations had a tendency towards high mobility and used a generalized toolkit organization. Early lithic technology used at 35-CU-67C emphasized multidirectional core technology and biface manufacture in the form of preforms and leaf-shaped projectile-points. This type of technological organization is to be expected from hunter-gatherers practicing a generalist-forager subsistence strategy. Based on the 10,430 ± 150 RCYBP date and technological organization at 35-CU-67C, early Oregon coastal occupation is seen as encompassing a generalist-forager subsistence strategy most likely adapted to both coastal and terrestrial environments.
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