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Technological analysis of site 35MA375: A biface cache site in Salem, Oregon

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
The purpose of this thesis was a comprehensive technological lithic analysis for site 35MA375, a biface cache site. The site consists of 15 early-stage obsidian bifaces, considered part of the cache, as well as 24 tools and 102 pieces of debitage. The primary objective of this study was to identify the lithic reduction strategies employed at site 35MA375 to determine if the non-cache site artifacts are culturally, temporally, or functionally related to the cache of bifaces. Secondary objectives of this study aimed to address whether the cache bifaces were made at the site, if the production and deposition of the cache was a single event, and if the cached bifaces were further reduced at the site. The leading research method employed was technological analysis of the artifacts using modeling reduction sequences of technological systems. Secondary analyses included x-ray fluorescence and hydration analysis of obsidian artifacts. Experimental reduction of bifaces, similar to the cached bifaces, was conducted to understand pre-contact lithic reduction techniques and strategies at 35MA375. The results of the analyses suggest that the bifaces in the cache were not manufactured at 35MA375. Instead, it seems most likely that they were shaped at the Obsidian Cliffs quarries in the Cascade Range and then transported to the Willamette Valley where they were left at the site and never retrieved. Later Native American use of the site area, involved use of different lithic materials and reduction technologies that are fundamentally different from the technologies represented by the cache of bifaces. The technological analysis and experimental replication of this biface cache site contributes new details on caching practices in the Pacific Northwest. Site 35MA375 offers a new approach to understanding how people moved across the landscape, accessed, procured, reduced, and used obsidian resources within the Willamette Valley, Oregon.
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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Welch, John
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