A GIS analysis of Paleoindian site structure at the Clary Ranch site

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2006-01-01
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Holven, Adam
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Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology seeks to teach students what it means to be human by examining the four sub-disciplines of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. This prepares students for work in academia, research, or with government agencies, development organizations, museums, or private businesses and corporations.

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The Department of Anthropology was formed in 1991 as a result of the division of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

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1991-present

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GIS analysis of spatial patterning at the Late Paleoindian Clary Ranch site has provided new insights into the spatial organization at a secondary processing location for bison carcasses adjacent to a mass kill-butchery site. Recognizing such spatial patterning is largely visual, with the use of spatial autocorrelation to evaluate the statistical significance of visually recognized patterns. The patterning suggests at least two processing areas at the Clary Ranch site, identified by dense concentrations of debitage and longbone flakes. Associated with these concentrations are chipped stone tools and percussion artifacts. The presence of hearths suggests that multiple activities occurred at these locations. Adjacent to processing locations are discard areas, consisting primarily of longbone articular ends and very few chipped stone items. The segregation of processing activities areas at the site is consistent with observations made at other Paleoindian processing sites. However, the diversity of activities at the Clary Ranch site is limited when compared to other sites, including Allen, Stewart's Cattle Guard, and Jurgens. This may be the result of excavation methodology at Clary Ranch or perhaps site duration. Ethnographic observations of special purpose sites and kill-butchery locations suggest that site organization is based around the activity and not so much around sleeping, eating, or discard activities. This type of site structure often produces a palimpsest of activities at one location, similar to what has been observed at Clary Ranch (e.g., processing, cooking, and stone tool manufacture). At this time, it is unknown if the Clary Ranch site functioned as a short-term camp in addition to a secondary bison processing location. The presence of areas between processing locations, more or less void of archaeological patterning, suggest that Paleoindians anticipated the amount of time needed to accomplish processing tasks and planned accordingly by designating areas for short-term habitation. Alternatively, a residential camp may have been situated locally in Ash Hollow Draw, from which the organization of the kill and processing events were planned and executed.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2006