Browsing Theses and Dissertations by Subject "Paleoindians"
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Paleoindian Chronology, Technology, and Lithic Resource Procurement at Nesquehoning CreekNesquehoning Creek (36CR142) is a stratified, multicomponent site situated on a late Wisconsin age terrace in Lehigh Gorge State Park, Carbon County, Pennsylvania. Cultural occupations represented at Nesquehoning Creek include Colonial (late 17th-early 18th century); Late, Middle, and Early Woodland; Transitional, Late, Middle and Early Archaic; and Paleoindian. The Paleoindian component is deeply buried, contextually secure, and produced a Crowfield fluted point with associated radiocarbon dates of 12,422 ± 164, 12,255 ± 177, and 11,398 ± 110 cal BP. This dissertation focuses on: 1) assessing the Paleoindian occupation history at Nesquehoning Creek, 2) analyzing the organization of Paleoindian lithic technology, and 3) examining Paleoindian residential mobility patterns in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast regions. The history of research at Nesquehoning Creek, Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene environmental data, and Paleoindian culture history are reviewed in order to provide background information. By examining the stratigraphy and geomorphology at the Nesquehoning Creek site, this study was able to propose a model of landscape evolution and determine excavation areas with the greatest potential for stratified Paleoindian occupations. A lithic refitting and artifact distribution analysis of these excavation areas was able to identify a single Crowfield Paleoindian occupation zone. The Crowfield component lithic assemblage displayed production and reduction strategies similar to Clovis and later Paleoindian complexes. Lithic raw material types represented in the Crowfield toolkit suggest a relatively small territorial range on the order of 50 km. An evaluation of Early and Late Paleoindian residential mobility patterns in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast showed continuity in the relative occupation span of sites from both periods. This suggests that although Late Paleoindian groups had smaller territorial ranges, they appear to have moved from site to site within those territories about as frequently as Early Paleoindians in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast regions. Detailed analysis of contextually secure Paleoindian assemblages are crucial to identifying similarities and differences between archaeological complexes. This research demonstrates the importance of lithic refitting studies in the assessment of stratified, multicomponent archaeological sites. Detailed examination of the Crowfield lithic assemblage improved our understanding of Paleoindian technological organization in the Middle Atlantic region. The evaluation of Paleoindian residential mobility patterns has complimented previous studies and presented data that may be updated and reassessed in the future.