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A Comment on Microdebitage Analyses and Cultural Site-Formation Processes among Tipi Dwellers

  • Robert R. Janes (a1)


A recent report by Hull (1987) on the microdebitage analysis of soil samples from a stone-circle site in the Northern Plains indicates the utility of such analyses for the study of use and disposal in lithic-tool-manufacture areas. Its value could have been heightened through greater awareness of recent research on the ethnoarchaeology of tipi use and of site-formation studies in general. Various factors were overlooked in Hull's analysis, including the intentional disposal of refuse away from the place of use, the widespread distribution of secondary refuse as a result of smearing and blending, the distinction between occupation and abandonment refuse, and the effects of rodent disturbance within tipis. The fact that these factors were not considered weakens the applicability of Hull's site-formation model. Research among the Slavey Dene of the western Canadian Subarctic suggests that tipis are better viewed as generalized activity centers, embracing a variety of human activities and events, none of which have strict spatial definition. This helps to explain the weak or nonexistent patterning noted by Hull.


El informe recientemente escrito por Hull (1987), sobre el análisis de microdebitage contenido en muestras de suelo provenientes de un sitio con una estructura circular hecha con piedras en los llanos del norte, indica la utilidad de esos para los estudios del uso y disposicion en aquellas areas donde se manufacturaban herramientas de piedra. El valor de este informe podria haber sido realzado por medio deun mayor conocimiento de las últimas investigaciones etnoarqueológicas sobre el uso del tipi y en general, estudios sobre la formación de sitios. Varios factoresfueron pasados por alto en el análisis hecho por Hull, incluyendo la disposición intencional de los desechos lejos del lugar de uso, la extensa dispersión de desechos secundarios como resultado de mesclas y barriales, la distinción entre la ocupación y el abandono de los desechos y el efecto de la perturbación ocasionada por roedores dentro de los tipis. El hecho de que estos factores no fueran considerados, debilita la aplicacion del modelo de Hull sobre la formación de sitios. Investigaciónes recientes entre los Slavey Dene del occidente subartico canadiense sugieren que los tipis se ven mejor como centros de actividades generates, abarcando una variedad de eventos y actividades humanas, ninguna de las cuales tiene alguna definición espacial estricta. Esto ayuda a explicar la debil presencia, o la inexistencia de patrones notadas por Hull.



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A Comment on Microdebitage Analyses and Cultural Site-Formation Processes among Tipi Dwellers

  • Robert R. Janes (a1)


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