Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Assessing the Potential for a Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene Occupation at the Tahkenitch Landing Site (35DO130), Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area Public Deposited

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  • The archaeological record of the First Americans is known almost exclusively from interior sites located away from coastal margins. While archaeologists hypothesize that early peoples initially migrated into the Americas along the Pacific coast, environmental changes associated with postglacial sea level rise may have destroyed or obscured such early sites. In coastal areas currently above sea level, early sites are difficult to find due to terrestrial processes of landscape erosion and deep burial. To expand our knowledge of where other early sites might be located, we must work to first find late Pleistocene-aged terrestrial deposits. Thus, the search for early sites begins as a geoarchaeological problem. By systematically exploring and describing the buried geological sequence of deposits in a landscape, we can narrow the search for late Pleistocene-aged sites. The Tahkenitch Landing site (35DO130), although currently lacking late Pleistocene-aged cultural components, is suspected to hold many of the stratigraphic quality we should be seeking in the landscape of the Oregon coast. Geoarchaeological investigations presented in this study resulted in the identification of well stratified late Pleistocene-early Holocene aged deposits situated below one of the oldest archaeological sites along the Oregon coast. Geoprobe coring of buried site and nonsite deposits revealed a stratified record of alluvial and aeolian deposits with several buried paleosol horizons. Radiocarbon dating of these deposits and paleosols reveal a landscape history that span the period from ~42,000-3,000 RYBP. Importantly, this study revealed the presence of a paleosol developed on aeolian sand buried beneath known midden deposits that dates from 13,111-10,112 RYBP. This discovery of these late Pleistocene-aged deposits reveals important stratigraphic targets for future archaeological exploration at the Tahkenitch Landing site and in the larger Oregon coast region.
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  • Keystone Archaeological Research Fund and the Bernice Peltier Huber Charitable Trust
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