PhD Dissertations: Christopher John Ellis, 1984

Paleo-Indian Lithic Technological Structure and Organization in the Lower Great Lakes Area

Analyses of lithic assemblages from four fluted point sites in southwestern Ontario are presented with the aim of generating models of technological structure and organization. The models are concerned with the explanation of formal artifact variability in terms of proximate and ontogenetic causes such as manufacturing procedures, hafting, and recycling, as well as with explanation at an ultimate or adaptive level. The adaptive models are concerned with how tool production systems worked in order to overcome incongruences between lithic resource locations and tool use locations. Such models are important in that they 1) recognize lithic materials as a resource; 2) emphasize the role of advance planning in human adaptations; 3) realize that tool production systems are open and are subject to causative factors beyond a proximate level; and 4), focus attention on the explanation of "basic properties" of tool production systems such as the use of certain raw materials and the degree of standardization of reduction strategies.

Detailed models of technological structure are developed which produce several insights into factors conditioning formal variability in the assemblages. Such models also lead to the recognition of several characteristics useful for placing material in time/space frameworks. In terms of organization, it is noted that Paleo-Indians used only a limited number of lithic material types and sources out of all of those potentially available - a practice which greatly increased incongruences between source and tool use locations. It is suggested that the basic constraint limiting lithic source use is that such materials served as "social descriptors" of homogeneity among groups who relied largely on "risk-pooling" strategies of resource risk reduction. Several strategies related to tool design, inventory management and segmenting of the reduction sequence, are delineated or suggested which were used by Paleo-Indians to reduce the bulk and maintain the use-flexibility potential of lithic items transported some distance.