Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Expanding the chemostratigraphic framework of the Cooper's Ferry site (10IH73) using portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry

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  • This thesis reports a study of pXRF chemostratigraphy at the Cooper's Ferry site, located in western Idaho’s Lower Salmon River Canyon. The author used portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (pXRF) in order to independently test and expand the current chemostratigraphic framework at the site. PXRF applications targeted two stratigraphic sections located in the eastern and western areas of the site and drew from 370 pXRF samples in order to answer three primary questions: 1) Based on currently available data, what is the stratigraphy of the Cooper’s Ferry site and locality?; 2) Given these data, can pXRF be used to make correlations between the chemostratigraphic framework established in Unit A to stratigraphic deposits recently revealed in the eastern side of the site in Area B?; and 3) How do these new data shed light on the site formation history of the Cooper’s Ferry site? The results of this study support the previously defined chemostratigraphic framework in Unit A, expanded the current chemostratigraphic framework and provenience system to include thirteen new chemostratigraphic units from Area B, and successfully correlated each area using a multivariate statistical procedure. Additionally, pXRF was used to detect local erosional activity at the site. Taken together, these data highlight the efficacy of pXRF chemostratigraphy as a way to quantitatively delineate and correlate stratigraphic sections at the Cooper's Ferry site, and help provide an understanding of the local geomorphic processes that led to site formation. The procedure presented here has large implications for rapidly quantifying chemostratigraphy at archaeological sites within alluvial systems such as the Lower Salmon River Canyon, and provides the precedent for further testing in other environmental settings.
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