Date of Award

8-1989

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Anthropology

Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

Charles H. Faulkner, John Foss

Abstract

Geoarchaeological investigations were used to assess the depositional and post-depositional processes that effected the Rush Creek Site (40CN79) in Cannon County, Tennessee. Of particular interest was a buried landform, found in the floodplain of the East Fork Stones River, that was sealed by sterile alluvium. This formation contained both prehistoric and historic artifacts within the same context. The stratigraphy of the site was determined by deep testing to describe the site and the landforms associated with the site. Samples collected from the exposed profiles of the deep test pits were subjected to particle size, pH, carbon, and phosphorus analyses. Statistical parameters derived from the particle size analysis were subjected to multivariate statistical procedures.

Particle size and multivariate analyses demonstrate that variable landforms can be discriminated according to relative age due to the formation of pedogenically derived clay in older landforms, and increased sand content in younger landforms. Carbon and phosphorus analyses show human influence in the buried floodplain formation due to the substantial amount of each found in the midden in comparison to the surrounding landforms. Conflicting radiocarbon dates and historic period research in the area helped to demonstrate that a possible historic truncation episode was responsible for the deposition of historic artifacts within the archaeological context of those of aboriginal origin.

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