Searching for early archaeological sites along the central Oregon coast : a case study from Neptune State Park (35LA3), Lane County, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/nc580r72t

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  • Locating archaeological sites that predate the arrival of modern sea level has been difficult along the Oregon coast. This is in part believed to be the result of geologic processes that have influenced the preservation, distribution, and visibility of sites within the Oregon coastal landscape. Because of these changes, researchers have a poor understanding of where sites that predate modern sea level are located within the modern landscape. Geoarchaeological techniques and concepts are well suited to address these types of questions and can help place the fragments of a once much larger paleocoastal landscape into a modern context. In this thesis I use a Geographic Information System (GIS) and geoarchaeological field and laboratory techniques and concepts to conceptualize, locate, and evaluate landforms located within both the paleo and modern central Oregon coastal landscapes. Geoarchaeological investigations conducted as part of this project at the Neptune Site (35LA3) identified mid to late Holocene aged archaeological materials in addition to an erosional contact located between late Pleistocene and Holocene-aged deposits representing the loss of up to 11,400 years of stratigraphic time. To account for this loss of time, a model of landscape change that is occurring at 35LA3 is presented. Depositional sequences such as truncated late Pleistocene aged deposits that underlie mid to late Holocene sediment that are observed at the Neptune Site are similar to, and have been associated with other early sites along the Oregon coast. The identification of these types of deposits and their associated erosional features may serve as key target horizons for future coastal researchers looking for landforms and archaeological deposits and date to the late Pleistocene to mid Holocene.
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