Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Quaternary and Climate Studies


David Sanger

Second Committee Member

Robson Bonnichsen

Third Committee Member

Bradford A. Hall


This study examines some factors that affected choice and use of lithic resources among prehistoric peoples living within a restricted geographical area during a period of 2500 years. The raw materials of chipped stone tools from six shell middens, habitation sites in the Passamaquoddy Bay region of southwestern New Brunswick, are identified. These include rocks that are atypical of the regional geology. Source areas of indigenous materials are located. Canoe transport made the native resources accessible to the inhabitants of the sites under study, and probably facilitated acquisition of non-native rocks.

The effect that distance had on lithic resource exploitation is determined by comparing the relative proportion of each rock type within and between site assemblages. A rock type is commonly present in greatest proportion in a site near its source. People also exploited more removed rock resources within the Passamaquoddy Bay area, but to a lesser extent. Rocks foreign to Passamaquoddy Bay account for nearly half of the artifacts in the majority of the sites. Different rock characteristics are associated with artifacts of different forms (unifaces and bifaces). Finer-grained, homogeneously- structured rocks were chosen more often for unifaces than for bifaces. This correlation applies both to indigenous and foreign materials.

Despite changes in uniface form, little change in rock type is demonstrated by unifaces from the Aceramic (3000-2000 B.P.) and Ceramic (2000-500 B.P.) periods. This is a pattern unlike that seen in many sites of the Maine-Maritimes region. A change in material selection is evident for stylistically-different stemmed bifaces of the Aceramic and Ceramic periods. Paralleling a regional trend, more fine-grained lithologies are chosen for Ceramic period stemmed bifaces. No change in dependence on the Passamaquoddy Bay lithic resource base for unifaces or for bifaces during the 2500-year period of prehistoric occupation is evident.