Quantifying the Pre-Archaic to Archaic Transition: A Study of Movement and Land-Use in the Old River Bed of Western Utah
AuthorField, Traevis Lee
AdvisorSmith, Geoffrey M
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Current models of prehistoric movement and land-use in the Old River Bed (ORB) of western Utah suggest that a wetland environment restricted Pre-archaic (pre-8,000 14C yr BP) occupants of the region to movement along a system of raised sand and gravel channels. I test these models using lithic- and GIS-based methods of analysis to compare Pre-archaic and Archaic (post-8,000 14C yr BP) land-use. I analyzed the attributes of lithic assemblages and individual tools relative to their distance to the ORB's margins. I then compared the relationships of Pre-archaic and Archaic sites and projectile points with the inverted channel system of the ORB and compared the degree of clustering demonstrated by sites from both periods. Further, I utilized least cost path analysis to determine whether or not the presence of a Pre-archaic wetland altered the costs of travel between the ORB and obsidian toolstone sources, and I compared these modeled travel costs to directions of procurement and frequencies of obsidian sources represented in the ORB. The results show little variance between Pre-archaic and Archaic land-use in the ORB and suggest that the presence of an expansive wetland may not have been a primary influence on Pre-archaic land-use in the area.