Meghan Johnson


Areas of interest

Cultural Heritage Management, Great Lakes Archaeology, Pre-contact Archaeology, Social Archaeology


  • MA: SFU Heritage Resource Management
  • BA: San Diego State University 2012, Anthropology

MA Theses in HRM: Meghan Johnson, 2019

Technological Analysis of Site 35MA375: A Biface Cache Site


Dr. John Welch, Professor, Senior Supervisor
Dr. Dennis Sandgathe, Lecturer, Supervisor
Dr. John Fagan, President & Senior Archaeologist at AINW, Supervisor
Dr. George Nicholas, Professor, External Examiner
Dr. Jon Driver, Professor, Chair


The purpose of this thesis is to assemble a comprehensive technological lithic analysis for site 35MA375, a biface cache site. The site consists of 15 early-stage obsidian bifaces, considered part of the cache, as well as 24 tools and 102 pieces of debitage. The primary objectives of this study are to identify the lithic reduction strategies employed at site 35MA375 to determine if the non-cache site artifacts are culturally, temporally, or functionally related to the cache of bifaces.

The primary research method employed was technological analysis of the artifacts using modeling reduction sequences of technological systems. Secondary analyses included x-ray fluorescence and hydration analysis of obsidian artifacts. Experimental reduction of bifaces, similar to the cached bifaces, was conducted to understand precontact lithic reduction techniques and strategies at 35MA375.

The results of the analyses suggest that the bifaces in the cache were not manufactured at 35MA375. Instead, it seems most likely that they were shaped at the Obsidian Cliffs quarries in the Cascade Range and transported to the Willamette Valley where they were left at 35MA375 and never retrieved. Later Native American use of the site area, involved use of different lithic reduction technologies that are fundamentally different from the technologies represented in the cache of bifaces.

The technological analysis and experimental replication of site 35MA375 lithic artifacts contributes new details to how people moved across the landscape and accessed, procured, reduced, and used obsidian resources within the Willamette Valley, Oregon.