Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

Charles Faulkner, Jeff Chapman, Jan Simek, Thomas L. Bell


Behavioral variability exists in past hunter-gatherer lifeways but there is no simple means to study this variability and gain an understanding of past hunter-gatherer lifeways and culture change. Previously, archaeologists have depended, in large part, on ethnographic accounts to make inferences concerning past hunter-gatherer behavior. However, the revisionist debate and evaluations of the role of hunter-gatherer ethnography for archaeological interpretation point to the problems caused by an overemphasis on ethnographic data.

One solution is that archaeologists begin to examine prehistoric hunter-gatherer settlement-mobility patterns. Mobility is a behavior that is related to both social and economic strategies so it provides an initial means of investigating these two areas of behavior. The documentation of prehistoric settlement-mobility patterns is a useful research strategy for the investigation of hunter-gatherer lifeways and changes in hunter-gatherer behavior.

In this study, an organization-of-technology approach guided the analysis of the chipped-stone assemblages recovered in the excavations of the Early Archaic components excavated during the Tellico Archaeological Project. The study of these assemblages provides something of a unique opportunity to examine the potential for change in hunter-gatherer lifeways.

The emphasis of the analyses was the flake debris but published stone tool and feature data were important to the conclusions reached in this study. Based on this study, it is suggested that patterns of technological organization appear generally similar over the Early Archaic, but there are apparent changes in settlement-mobility strategies. For example, the Lower Kirk occupation at Icehouse Bottom is suggestive of a forager settlement mobility system while a number of the Upper Kirk assemblages appear quite similar and fit expectations for collector base camps. Also, patterning is revealed in a comparison of the Tellico assemblages with other Early Archaic sites in the southeast. One such is the low occurrence of unhafted bifaces in the Tellico assemblages. Another pattern is the similarity between the Haw-River Palmer and Hardaway assemblages. Finally, it is suggested that the reanalysis of existing archaeological collections can play a significant role in the advancement of archaeological knowledge.

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