A Study of Early Holocene Paleoprecipitation Record from Freshwater River Mussel Shell at the Cooper's Ferry Site, Idaho and Their Archaeological Implications Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/nv935550t

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  • Studies of δ¹⁸O held in freshwater bivalve shell carbonate are useful for reconstructing paleoclimates and environmental changes and inform interpretations about past human behavior and periods of culture change. Stable isotope analyses (δ¹⁸O) of Margaritifera falcata shells found at the Cooper's Ferry archaeological site located in the lower Salmon River canyon of Idaho were used to determine paleoclimate conditions during the early Holocene. In a previous study, a limited number of mussel shell δ¹⁸O values suggested early Holocene climates were generally moister. This thesis presents a higher-resolution isotope record that reveals far greater variation and extremes in precipitation values from 9,000 to 8,000 RYBP. By comparing prehistoric mussel shell isotope data to isotope records from modern shell and modern rainfall records this study provides a baseline against which prehistoric paleoprecipitation conditions can be evaluated. By examining the patterns in which archaeological shell δ¹⁸O reflects variability in regional climate conditions, human-environmental interactions can then be considered in order to make predictions about foraging behaviors.
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