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Taking Variation Seriously: Testing the Steatite Mast-Processing Hypothesis with Microbotanical Data from the Hunter's Home Site, New York

  • John P. Hart (a1), Eleanora A. Reber (a2), Robert G. Thompson (a3) and Robert Lusteck (a4)


In a series of recent publications, Truncer (1999, 2004a, 2004b, 2006) presents a hypothesis that during what he interprets as the peak period of use (2500-1500 cal. B.C.) in eastern North America, steatite (soapstone) vessels were specialized cooking tools used to process mast. A key component of Truncer's hypothesis building is his interpretation of an analysis of fatty acids extracted from charred residue adhering to four steatite sherds, which he interpreted to be consistent with mast. This is the only component of his hypothesis building that directly links steatite vessel use to mast processing. Here we convey the results of a reassessment of Truncer's analytical results and the results of our own analysis of phytoliths and fatty acids extracted from charred residue adhering to three sherds from the Hunter's Home site. Our results undermine this key component of Truncer's hypothesis building and therefore the hypothesis itself.


En una serie de publicaciones recentes, Truncer (1999, 2004a, 2004b, 2006) presenta la hipótesis de que durante lo que él interpreta como el periodo más alto de uso (cal. 2500-1500 B.C.) en el este de Norte América, vasijas de esteatita (saponita), fueron utilizados como herramientas especializadas para procesar nueces silvestres. El factor clave de la hipótesis de Truncer es su interpretacion de un análisis de ácidos grasos extraídos de residuos carbonizados adheridos a cuatro fragmentos de vasijas de esteatita, lo cual él interpretó como consistentes con nueces silvestres. Esto es el único componente de su hipótesis que directamente une el uso de vasijas de esteatita con la preparación de nueces silvestres. Aquí presentamos los resultados de una reconsideración del análisis de Truncer y los resultados de nuestro propio análisis de fitolitos y ácidos grasos extraídos de residuo carbonizado adherido a tres fragmentos de vasijas de esteatita del sitio Huneter's Home. Nuestros resultados socavan este factor clave de la hipótesis de Truncer y por lo tanto lal hipótesis entera.



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Taking Variation Seriously: Testing the Steatite Mast-Processing Hypothesis with Microbotanical Data from the Hunter's Home Site, New York

  • John P. Hart (a1), Eleanora A. Reber (a2), Robert G. Thompson (a3) and Robert Lusteck (a4)


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