Far Western Anthropological Research Group
Occasional Speaker Series Presents
Mike Lenzi, M.A., RPA
Staff Archaeologist, Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc.
The Utility of Experimental Archaeology for Addressing Research Questions:
A Case Study of Crescents from the Western United States.
Thursday, September 10th, 2015 – 5:00 pm
Far Western Lab
2727 Del Rio Place, Davis, CA 95618
Experimental archaeology is used to understand how artifacts were manufactured, used, and discarded. This study used replicated crescents to evaluate common hypotheses for their function and demystify their role in the prehistoric toolkit. Models from human behavioral ecology were applied to evaluate the efficiency of crescents to cut leather, scrape willow, and tip projectiles. Breaks accrued from use of the replicated crescents were compared to archaeological patterns. The hypothesis that the primary function of crescents is for cutting and slicing tasks and scraping plants is not supported; however, use as transverse projectile points is well-supported.
In their recent article in PaleoAmerica, one of Far Western’s Principal Investigators, Ryan Byerly, and one of our Senior Archaeologists, Joanna Roberson, examine a Clovis biface and explore dating terminal Pleistocene geological deposits in Twentynine Palms, California. The type of fluted biface, made of local jasper, implies that it may have been deposited before the Younger Dryas period, and it may coincide with Clovis points dated in other locations (ca. 13,200–12,700 calibrated years before present).
“More than 30 years of cultural resources management in the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, California, has produced a growing body of mostly unpublished data (cf. Sutton et al. 2007) concerning the late Pleistocene–middle Holocene archaeology of the Mojave Desert. This article highlights recent work demonstrating the presence of hunter-gatherers in the MCAGCC before the Younger Dryas, and the potential preservation of significantly ancient buried deposits in some areas.”
—Byerly and Roberson 2015
Read their article HERE.
“Late Pleistocene to Middle Holocene Archaeology in the Mojave Desert: Recent Discoveries in Twentynine Palms, California,” PaleoAmerica 1(2):197-201
The authors thank the Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs staff aboard MCAGCC, particularly Marie Cottrell, Leslie Glover, John Hale, and Nick Chamberlain, for their dedication to the management of cultural resources and providing data gleaned from those efforts for this piece. We would also like to acknowledge Mike Rondeau for taking time to analyze and identify the fluted projectile point, which was found by Devin Garvey, a Far Western archaeological technician. Geomorphological work was conducted by D. Craig Young, Andras Nagy produced the map, and Kathleen Montgomery created the other figure. Amy Gilreath manages Far Western’s work aboard MCAGCC, and Bill Hildebrandt serves as Principal Investigator for these projects. Mark Allen and three anonymous reviewers helped improve an earlier draft of the article.
Western Digs‘ new article “Over 1,000 Ancient Stone Tools, Left by Great Basin Hunters, Found in Utah Desert” cites Far Western’s work in the Utah Test and Training Ranges in 2012. The article mentions the vast assemblage of stone tools found in the Old River Bed Delta of Western Utah—including the largest Haskett Point ever recorded. Daron Duke, Principal Investigator and Director of our Desert Branch, mentions in the article that, regardless of its size, the “Haskett is very rare anywhere.”
“(T)hese finds help clarify a picture that has remained hazy for archaeologists: the life and times of the Great Basin’s earliest inhabitants, who may have been contemporaries of the ancient and widespread Clovis culture.” -Blake de Pastino, Western Digs
Check out the full article and photos HERE.
This find was also mentioned on the website of Archaeology Magazine.
Haskett Point 3D Model Below:
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Funding was made available for this gallery by the public-oriented document The Long Road Traveled, the California Department of Transportation, and Flatiron West, Inc.