PhD Dissertations: Lynn Berry Fredlund, 1982

Southeastern Montana in the Late Prehistoric Period, Human Adaptation and Projectile Point Chronology

A central goal of this thesis is to provide a framework for explaining adaptive strategies and artifact histories of the Late Prehistoric Period I (A.D. 250-1000) and II (A.D. 1000-1700) in the Pine Breaks of southeast Montana.

The method by which this is achieved involves the identification and clarification of the expanded flake point tradition through, in part, a survey of the literature and through the exploration of evidence from excavated sites and survey inventory sites, many of which are not yet fully published.

Present archaeological evidence suggests that hunting, lithic procurement, population density, and settlement systems of the Pine Breaks area were somewhat different from those of the open plains. The Pine Breaks, an ecologically distinct area within the Northwestern Plains, provides many attributes for human occupation that the open plains do not. The Period I Benson's Butte-Beehive complex represents an adaptation to the Pine Breaks. It is characterized by Avonlea-like points, high fortifiable living locations and circular rock-walled dwelling structures. Benson's Butte, one of the type sites of this complex, also yielded evidence of a point manufacturing technique which utilizes a distinct expanding flake. It is hypothesized that use of the expanding flake forms the basis of the fabrication process for most of all Late Prehistoric small side-notched arrow points. Based on this manufacturing tradition, it follows that triangular unnotched forms, or "points" are rarely used as projectile tips, but as preforms for the notched points of the Late Prehistoric period. Although identified in the Pine Breaks area, this refinement of projectile point chronology is applicable to the Northwestern Plains and possibly other areas of North America.