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A Stone's Throw from the Source: An Examination of Fine-Grained Volcanic Toolstone Use in the Pah Rah Range, Western Nevada
AuthorBranch, Sarah E.
AdvisorSmith, Geoffrey M.
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Prehistoric use of the Pah Rah Range in western Nevada has resulted in a diverse record of hunting, processing, and residential sites, many of which contain artifacts manufactured from fine-grained volcanic (FGV) toolstones. Using data from the X-ray fluorescence analysis of 303 FGV artifacts from 18 sites in the Pah Rah Range and surrounding areas, this thesis assesses whether prehistoric groups in the Pah Rah Range utilized primarily local or exotic FGV sources and how their procurement and use of FGV toolstone fits within regional models of toolstone conveyance and settlement. Results indicate that during the Middle to Late Archaic (5,000-700 cal BP) local FGV sources were overwhelmingly preferred. Compared to obsidian data from the same region, FGV toolstone reflects shorter-distance conveyance and east-west rather than north-south movement, suggesting that groups in the Pah Rah Range likely combined residential and logistical patterns of mobility with a variety of toolstone procurement strategies.