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Intrasite Spatial Analysis, Ethnoarchaeology, and Paleoindian Land-Use on the Great Plains: The Allen Site

  • Douglas B. Bamforth (a1), Mark Becker (a2) and Jean Hudson (a3)
Abstract

This paper examines the way in which patterns of human occupation and geomorphic processes interacted to produce a highly structured distribution of artifacts and hearths over a period of over 3,000 years at the Allen site (25FT50), a Paleoindian campsite in southwestern Nebraska. Despite accumulation of roughly a meter of sediment, artifact concentrations remained in almost exactly the same horizontal locations throughout the period of site occupation. Hearth locations varied considerably, but were virtually always located in areas of low artifact density. Considered in light of ethnoarchaeological studies of hunter-gatherer site structure, our data indicate that the excavated portion of the site was at the periphery of a domestic area and was used for secondary discard and other purposes. Trash appears to have been collected and discarded onto previously existing and continuously visible middens throughout the occupation, and new hearths appear to have been located to avoid these middens. We discuss the implications of these patterns for current models of Paleoindian landuse on the Plains and for studies of hunter-gatherer site structure in general.

Résumé

Este artículo examina la manera en que patrones de ocupación y procesos geomorfológicos interactuaron para producir una distribución de artefactos y hogares sumamente estructurados en una época de más 3000 años en el sitio Allen (25FT50), un campamento paleoindio en el suroeste del estado de Nebraska. A pesar de la acumulación de aproximadamente un metro de sedimentos, las concentraciones de artefactos se quedaron en casi idénticas ubicaciones horizontales por toda la época de ocupación del sitio. Las ubicaciones de hogares variaban considerablemente, pero estaban casi siempre ubicadas en áreas de baja densidad de artefactos. A la luz de estudios etnoarqueológicos de la estructura de sitios de cazadores-recolectores, nuestros datos indican que la porción excavada del sitio estaba en la periferia de una área doméstica, y que fue usada para desechos secundarias y otros propósitos. La basura aparentemente fue colectada y desechada en depósitos preexistentes y visibles por toda la ocupación, y nuevos hogares aparentemente se ubicaron para evitar esos depósitos. Discutimos aquí las implicaciones de esos patrones en modelos actuales sobre los usos de tierra por los paleoindios en las llanuras norteamericanas y en estudios de estructuras de cazadores-recolectores en general.

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American Antiquity
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