Innovation and cultural transmission in the American Paleolithic: Phylogenetic analysis of eastern Paleoindian projectile-point classes
- by Michael J. O’Brien, Matthew T. Boulanger, Briggs Buchanan, Mark Collard, R. Lee Lyman and John Darwent
“North American fluted projectile points are the quintessential temporally diagnostic artifacts, occurring over a relatively short time span, from ca. 13,300 calBP to ca. 11,900 calBP, commonly referred to as the Early Paleoindian period. Painting with a broad brush, points from the Plains and Southwest exhibit less diversity in shape than what is found in the East, especially for the later half of the Early Paleoindian period. It remains unclear how various fluted-point forms relate to each other and whether the continent-wide occurrence of the earliest fluted-point forms represents a single cultural expression, albeit with regional differences. We used phylogenetic analysis to evaluate fluted-point classes from the eastern United States. Preliminary results suggest that there is both temporal and spatial patterning of some classes and that much of the variation in form has to do with modifications to hafting elements. Although our analyses are presently at a coarse scale, it appears that different kinds of learning could contribute in part to regional differences in point shape” (read more/open access).
This has some of the best paleoindian tool typology diagrams that I’ve ever seen and I cannot wait to read this later!.
So I’ve finally had time to reflect and think, and boy has this dig been amazing. I finished up three weeks ago, at which point I promptly made my way from the southern area of Transylvania to the the north for the Juvenile and Infant Osteology Workshop (but more on this equally amazing experience later).
I went on a dig with ArchaeoTek-Canada in Rapoltu-Mare, Transylvania. We worked in conjunction with the local museum and archaeologists from the Romanian Ministry of Culture. The site was an extensive Roman Villa, possibly along a major Roman thoroughfare.
The architectural level was close enough to the surface that the beginning was mostly just plow level - but once we got it below it we were greeted by a hypocaust system, colorful plaster fragments, and more ceramic than could possibly be enumerated here.
Below the Roman assemblage was what looked to be a Neolithic burning pit, which left trademark stratigraphy patterns in the profile.
I’ve learned a lot (historically: I knew nothing about Dacian history before coming here, and I’m now obsessed. technically: I’m leaving with a better understanding of GIS, soil testing, Total System operation, stratigraphic mapping, ceramic dating, the wild ways of Pálinka…) and I’m grateful for everything.
First international dig checked off!
(Aerial shot of the site copyright Andre Gonciar/ArchaeoTek-Canada)