A technological organization analysis of Paleoamerican occupation, adaptation, and settlement at the Potter Site in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Date: 13 January 2020
University of Exeter
In the New England Maritimes region, and especially New Hampshire, small lithic sites or scatters represent the most prevalent Paleoamerican site type identified on the landscape in the course of cultural resource management (CRM) and research activities. Correspondingly, distributed across this same landscape are a considerably far ...
In the New England Maritimes region, and especially New Hampshire, small lithic sites or scatters represent the most prevalent Paleoamerican site type identified on the landscape in the course of cultural resource management (CRM) and research activities. Correspondingly, distributed across this same landscape are a considerably far fewer number of significant large sites. Several different functional interpretations have been ascribed to these larger sites; all based on some version of the assumption that the large sites are accumulations of individual small sites either by aggregation or sequential visits. On present-day route 2 in the Moose River valley of the state of New Hampshire, a Paleoamerican site is situated with an area of 2 ½ acres, 11 excavation units (1m x 1m or greater) and containing approximately 15,900 lithic artifacts, that is known as the Potter site. This attribute depiction suggests similarities between Potter and the few other large regional sites broadly associated with the Vail/Debert and Gainey/Bull Brook time horizons or more specifically; Bull Brook, Whipple, Nobles Pond, Debert, Dedic/Sugarloaf, and Vail. These regional sites manifest in terms of the significant number of “hotspots” or loci, the rarity of its large size, earliest fluted point styles, low number of lithic material sources, rich artifact assemblages, site positioning overlooking a remnant of a glacial pond, and a chokepoint topography. The research question addressed in this doctoral thesis is: was Potter a single large seasonal hunting aggregation, single occupation marshaling event, seasonal episodic reuse interpretation or alternatively, a seasonal social aggregation site type, or perhaps something altogether different? The goal of this study was to evaluate the Potter site’s inhabitant’s lifeways, using flaked stone tool analysis modeling, in contrast to the rare number of large sites types identified regionally and to determine a response to the question; what kind of a site was Potter? Also, while in doing so, increasing the current understanding of the range of Paleoamerican horizon adaptations in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Quantitative and qualitative, or more specifically formal and informal heuristic lithic analysis methods, were applied to the excavated site flake stone tool and debitage artifact assemblage to determine a response to the research questions. Each site locus was individually evaluated to infer behavior traits that comprise the site’s overall activities and settlement patterns yielding the interpretation of Potter as a seasonal episodic reuse site.
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