A preliminary regional analysis of lithic cache sites in central Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vx021h008

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  • In the obsidian rich areas of central Oregon numerous lithic cache sites have been documented and strongly suggest the existence of a regional caching practice, however these sites remain poorly understood as cultural behavior. The primary objectives of this study are to develop and apply a research strategy addressing the caching behavior within a regional context, compile and expand data bases for known cache sites, identify and clarify patterns associated with the caching behavior, and interpret the results within the context of a preliminary investigation. This researcher utilizes a regional methodology to study the caching practice. A regional focus is of paramount importance because Central Oregon is a vastly complex region in terms of its natural and cultural environments. The natural environment is highly dynamic, dominated by climatic variability and volcanism. The cultural environment is diverse and fluid as the caching region is geographically located at the confluence of the southern Columbia Plateau, northern Great Basin, and Cascade culture areas. A comprehensive regional approach allows the integration of these complexities within the context of the caching behavior. This study assembles a comprehensive data base for each of the known cache sites. The data base includes material characteristics and geochemical attributes of individual cache sites, assemblages, and artifacts. New geochemical sourcing studies were obtained for some of the caches. These studies expand the existing data base and ultimately revise the obsidian sourcing data to comply with current XRF standards. The data bases are then used to identify and clarify patterns associated with the caching behavior. The research suggests both a lanceolate and an ovate cache type are represented in the central Oregon region. The notion of two identifiable cache types is compared and contrasted with other regional archaeological sites, particularly the Paulina Lake site in the caldera of Newberry Volcano. This evaluation further supports the possibility of two cache types and suggests the lanceolate and ovate type caches are probably separated chronologically as well as culturally. The comprehensive research design and subsequent results ultimately fosters the development of new hypotheses for both the lanceolate and ovate cache types. These hypotheses offer a new perspective for the chronological framework, cultural affiliation, and function of the caching behavior within the context of central Oregon's prehistory, and serves as a starting point for future research on central Oregon lithic caching behavior.
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