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Source Determination of White River Group Silicates from Two Archaeological Sites in the Great Plains

  • Robert J. Hoard (a1), John R. Bozell (a2), Steven R. Holen (a3), Michael D. Glascock (a4), Hector Neff (a4) and J. Michael Elam (a5)...

Abstract

High-quality cryptocrystalline silicates from the Oligocene-age White River Group of the central Great Plains (referred to here as White River Group Silicates [WRGS]) were widely used prehistorically for chipped-stone tools. There are three known source areas for WRGS: Flattop Butte in northeastern Colorado, Table Mountain in east central Wyoming, and the White River Badlands of South Dakota. Specimens from these sources are often visually indistinguishable, making it difficult to specify the source of WRGS from nonquarry archaeological sites. Using a quantitative method—neutron-activation analysis—these sources were differentiated. The sources of WRGS in two Central Plains archaeological sites also were determined using this technique. The results show that the technique has important implications for studies of prehistoric mobility and for the refinement of cultural-historical affiliation.

Resumen

Los silicatos cripto-cristalinos de alta calidad que provienen del grupo denominado “White River Group” de los Grandes Llanos Centrales, pertenecientes al oligoceno (referidos en el texto como White River Group Silicates o con las siglas WRGS), fueron ampliamente usados en tiempos prehistóricos en la fabricación de herramientas de piedra. Tres canteras han sido documentadas en WRGS: Flattop Butte al noreste de Colorado, Table Mountain en el centro-este de Wyoming, y los White River Badlands en South Dakota. Muchas veces, los artefactos que provienen de estos centros son indistinguibles visualmente, lo cual hace dificil especificar la fuente entre aquéllos que provenien de sitios arqueológicos. Usando un método cuantitativo (análisis deactivación de neutrones), aquéllos fuentes fueron diferenciadas. Las canteras de WRGS en dos sitios arqueológicos de los Llanos Centrales también fueron determinadas usando esta misma técnica. Los resultados demuestran que la técnica tiene importantes implicaciones en los estudios de movilidad prehistórica, así como en el refinamiento de afiliaciones histórico-culturales.

Copyright

References

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Source Determination of White River Group Silicates from Two Archaeological Sites in the Great Plains

  • Robert J. Hoard (a1), John R. Bozell (a2), Steven R. Holen (a3), Michael D. Glascock (a4), Hector Neff (a4) and J. Michael Elam (a5)...

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