Obsidian, archaeological implication for the central Oregon Cascades Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sq87bz47f

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  • Archaeological sites located on the western flanks of the centra1 Oregon Cascades are often characterized by the lack of temporally diagnostic artifacts and materials suitable for radiocarbon dating. Consequently, the temporal context of these sites remains largely unknown. Various researchers also have suggested that these open-air lithic sites have been adversely affected by various pedoturbative processes active in the densely forested environment, effectively negating the value of the depositional context of the sites. The research reported herein represents an attempt to empirically test the stratigraphic integrity of selected lithic sites through application of obsidian hydration data, and complimentary X-Ray Flouresence (XRF) chemical characterization. Concurrently, the data are applied to the evaluation of the temporal context of the sites, especially in terms of identifying single vs. multiple components. Results of these analyses have provided new information regarding obsidian source utilization in this area, the stratigraphic value of open lithic sites, and the potential for developing a temporal framework for sites in this area. Obsidian Cliffs has been identified as the dominant source of artifactual obsidian in these sites. Hydration data indicate that the stratigraphy of most of the study sites have been mixed as a result of natural processes occurring in the forest environment. Tentative interpretation of each site's occupational history is also offered. Success in application of obsidian hydration data as a tool for relative dating has been demonstrated, and the development of a local hydration data base has been initiated. Recommendations for the advancement of obsidian studies in this area are also proposed.
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