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GEOREF RECORD

Quartz flakes in lakes; microdebitage evidence for submerged Great Lakes prehistoric (late paleoindian-early Archaic) tool-making sites

Elizabeth P. Sonnenburg, Joseph I. Boyce and Eduard G. Reinhardt
Quartz flakes in lakes; microdebitage evidence for submerged Great Lakes prehistoric (late paleoindian-early Archaic) tool-making sites
Geology (Boulder) (July 2011) 39 (7): 631-634

Abstract

Exploration for submerged prehistoric archaeological sites in the Great Lakes (North America) is a major challenge due to difficulties in locating scant cultural artifacts in lake-bottom sediments. Stone tool microfragments (microdebitage, <1 mm) can be abundant (>10 (super 6) per tool) and more dispersed around tool-making sites, but have not been identified previously in an underwater context. To evaluate their use as a submerged site indicator, microdebitage analysis was conducted on five lake sediment cores from a shallow lagoon adjacent to a long-occupied prehistoric site (McIntyre site, Rice Lake, Ontario). We identified 155 microdebitage fragments within a distinctive muddy peat horizon (2-2.5 m depth) using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy methods. The microdebitage consisted of angular to very angular quartz fragments (400-1000 mu m) with characteristic conchoidal fractures and flake scars produced by mechanical percussion. The microdebitage horizon had a distinctive bimodal particle size peak and contained a low-diversity soil thecamoebian assemblage (Phryaginella, Bullinularia sp.) indicative of a wetland environment that formed during an early Holocene shoreline transgression. Accelerator mass spectrometry (super 14) C dating of wood fragments yielded ages of 9470-8760 + or -50 yr B.P. (11,070-9560 cal [calibrated] yr B.P.), indicating a Late Paleoindian-Early Archaic age for the deposit. Results demonstrate that coring and microdebitage analysis are effective tools in the search for underwater prehistoric sites and can be employed more broadly in exploration of submerged landscapes in the Great Lakes basins.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 39
Serial Issue: 7
Title: Quartz flakes in lakes; microdebitage evidence for submerged Great Lakes prehistoric (late paleoindian-early Archaic) tool-making sites
Affiliation: McMaster University, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, Hamilton, ON, Canada
Pages: 631-634
Published: 201107
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2011-064695
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N44°10'00" - N44°19'60", W78°45'00" - W78°17'60"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201136
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