Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Quaternary and Climate Studies


Brian S. Robinson

Second Committee Member

Paul "Jim" Roscoe

Third Committee Member

Adrian L. Burke


Paleoindian sites in the Northeast are characterized by dense tool concentrations representing discrete activities that have great potential for defining a wide variety of relationships. Ongoing Paleoindian research in the Northeast is directed toward defining what characteristics may distinguish large social gatherings from accumulations of smaller occupations that occurred over time. The Bull Brook Site located in Ipswich, Massachusetts is one of the largest and seemingly most spatially organized Paleoindian sites in North America, inspiring investigations into large social gatherings and their function. Ethnographically, aggregations of hunter-gatherer bands have been shown to differ according to duration, location, season, activities taking place, and group size. This thesis employs activity patterning based on artifact distributions at the Bull Brook site to investigate archaeological signatures of organization that may serve to identify large organized events. This thesis is part of a larger research effort to evaluate this ring shaped settlement pattern at Bull Brook, including the remapping of the site plan by Dr. Brian Robinson, and the identification of lithic raw material sources by Dr. Adrian Burke. Research for this thesis included cataloging the entire collection and using the data to analyze the spatial distribution of tool classes and material types. Chi squared analyses were used to identify non-random patterning and evidence of internal spatial structure within the plan. Golden Software's Surfer® was used to create visual interpretations of both tool and material type distributions. Results include a strong pattern of interior and exterior activity differences, or concentric rings of activity, that are difficult to explain except by an organized social event. Variations within the concentric patterns were further refined by comparison of tool and material distributions within quadrants of the circular settlement pattern. Finally, characteristics of the large organized event are compared and contrasted with the smaller Bull Brook II Paleoindian site located 300 meters southwest of the larger Bull Brook Site.

Files over 10MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."