Variability and Continuity between Paleoindian Assemblages in the Northeast: A Technological Approach
As of 2002, Degree of Master of Science (MS) Quaternary and Climate Studies published under the auspices of the Climate Change Institute.
The Paleoindian record in Maine consists almost exclusively of stone artifacts. Of these artifacts, the fluted projectile point is the most widely recognized and researched, particularly its morphology. Very little is known of the technological strategies involved in the production of Paleoindian stone tools or whether these strategies were consistent between Paleoindian sites. This research examines stone tool production methods and technological organization between two Paleoindian sites in Maine (Janet Cormier and Nicholas) using remnant technological attributes observed on discarded artifacts. Both sites are located in southwestern Maine within the Little Androscoggin River. The sites are situated on elevated, well-drained landforms far removed fiom the present Little Androscoggin River channel. The types of stone used for tool manufacture were transported fiom two primary sources, Mt. Jasper in Berlin, New Hampshire and the Munsungun Formation in northern Maine. These two sources are not distributed evenly between the sites suggesting some level of variation in lithic procurement strategies. The stone assemblages from the sites consist of a variety of tool forms manufactured with bifacial and unifacial flalung technologies. Tool production at both sites was organized around a biface Ad prepared core technology. The cores and biface forms associated with these technologies were initially prepared at other locations, perhaps near the quarry, and then transported to the sites. The biface technology is characterized by two strategies. One strategy involved the use of thin blanks that required minimal effort to reduce and shape into a desired tool form, while the other strategy used thicker blanks that involved more extensive reduction methods to produce the desired tool form. Tentatively, these biface production strategies correlate with non-fluted and fluted biface forms, respectively. The variation in production strategies may reflect a more economical use of the lithic resources utilized by Paleoindian groups that traditionally manufactured fluted points. The prepared core technology is best represented among unifacial tool forms, particularly those referred to as distal unifaces or end scrapers. It emphasized linear flaking along flake scar ridges andor comers of the core. The blanks from this technology were typically thick in section with a triangular longitudinal profile. A procedure sometimes associated with end scraper production, and present at both sites, is the removal of a single, parallel flake from the dorsal surface that resembles a flute. Other core forms possibly utilized in tool production include conical-shaped cores, multisided cores, and large biface cores. The latter may have been more heavily utilized among the Janet Cormier site inhabitants.