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The Core Problem: Examining the Role of Bifacial Cores in Terminal Pleistocene/Early Holocene Lithic Technological Organization in the Great Basin
AuthorWiggins, Kristina Michelle
AdvisorSmith, Geoffrey M.
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The High-Tech Forager Model (HTFM) was developed in the Great Plains region to model Paleoindian lithic technological organization. The model holds that mobile Paleoindian groups employed a flexible and efficient toolkit centered on bifacial core technology. Superficial similarities in lithic technology led to the widespread adoption of the model in the Great Basin, but its applicability to the region has not been critically evaluated. A number of actualistic, archaeological, and modeling studies challenge the HTFM, and it is with these challenges in mind that I designed this study to explore the organizational role of bifacial technology and, by extension, test the applicability of the HTFM to two regions of the Great Basin. My results suggest that bifacial technology was no more important to Paleoindians in the northwestern Great Basin than it was to later groups in the same region, and bifacial cores may have seen some use in the central Great Basin but not in the northwestern Great Basin. Raw material availability and subsistence strategies (rather than mobility, as the HTFM suggests) appear to have most strongly influenced the use of bifacial technology.