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Early Hunter-Gatherer Tool Use and Animal Exploitation: Protein and Microwear Evidence from the Central Savannah River Valley

  • Christopher R. Moore (a1), Mark J. Brooks (a1), Larry R. Kimball (a2), Margaret E. Newman (a3) and Brian P. Kooyman (a3)...


Results of protein residue and lithic microwear analyses are reported for Paleoindian and Early Archaic stone tools from a Carolina bay sand rim on the Aiken Plateau of South Carolina, USA. Protein residue analysis is performed using crossover Immunoelectrophoresis (CIEP), and indicates positive results for Bovidae, Cervidae, Galliformes, and Meleagris gallopavo. These results are complemented by a larger immunological study of 135 diagnostic hafted bifaces from South Carolina and Georgia. Among other species identified, bovid residue was found on multiple Paleoindian hafted bifaces, an Early Archaic hafted biface, and a Middle Archaic hafted biface. Results suggest continuity of species selection and availability across the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary and provide no support for the exploitation of extinct fauna. The data do provide compelling evidence for a demographic shift and/or regional extirpation of Bovidae possibly as late as the early mid-Holocene in the Southeast. In addition, microwear analysis of artifacts from Flamingo Bay indicate intensive hide scraping, antler boring, bone graving/planing/pointing, wood whittling, and hafting traces. Microwear data suggest intentional snap-fracture or bipolarization of exhausted or broken Clovis points for reuse as hide scrapers, and use of large bifacial knives and unifacial scrapers in intensive defleshing activities consistent with large animal butchery.

Se reportan los resultados de análisis de residuos de proteínas y de microdesgaste realizados en instrumentos líticos de los Períodos Arcaico y Paleoindio procedentes de la playa de una bahía de Carolina en la meseta Aiken de Carolina del Sur, EE.UU. El análisis de residuos de proteínas se realizó utilizando inmunoelectroforesis cruzada (CIEP), e indica resultados positivos para Bovidae, Cervidae, Galliformes y Meleagris gallopavo. Estos resultados se complementan con un estudio inmunológico mayor sobre 135 bifaces enmangados diagnósticos de Carolina del Sury Georgia. Entre otras especies identificadas, los residuos de bóvidos fueron encontrados en múltiples bifaces paleoindios enmangados, un bifaz enmangado correspondiente al Arcaico Temprano y otro al Arcaico Medio. Los resultados sugieren la continuidad en la selección de especies y su disponibilidad a través del límite Pleistoceno / Holoceno y no proporcionan apoyo a la explotación de fauna extinta. Estos datos aportan evidencia convincente de un cambio demográfico y/o extinción regional de los Bóvidos posiblemente tan tarde como a principios del Holoceno Medio para el sureste de los Estados Unidos de América. Además, el análisis de microdesgaste de artefactos de Flamingo Bay indican raspado intensivo de cueros, perforación de asta, grabado / alisado / ahusado de hueso, tallado de madera y marcas de enmangue. Los datos de microdesgaste sugieren fractura intencional o bipolarización de puntas Clovis agotadas o rotas para su reutilización como raspadores de cuero y el uso de grandes cuchillos bifaciales y raspadores unifaciales en actividades intensivas de descarne consistentes con el procesamiento de grandes animales.


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