Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

Jan F. Simek, Jefferson Chapman, Jay D. Franklin


Faunal remains are not often utilized to explore settlement practices and site use by prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the southeastern United States. Instead, lithic reduction sequences and site features are generally relied upon when making these kinds of interpretations. Faunal analysis, however, can offer an additional line of support to these interpretations, especially when seasonal indicators, transport of large animal remains and diversity of species are taken into account. This thesis is an attempt to address the prehistoric use of Sachsen Cave Shelter through the lens faunal analysis. Sachsen Cave Shelter is a large sandstone rock shelter located on the Upper Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee that was utilized by Late Archaic and Woodland peoples. The Late Archaic component of the site is characterized as a residential base camp based on lithic reduction sequences, numerous hearth features, dense artifact assemblages and several nutting stones and steatite stone bowl fragments. This thesis presents a detailed overview of the faunal assemblage of the site in an attempt to both elaborate this interpretation of site function for the Late Archaic component as well as discuss site use during the Woodland Period. It is expected that the faunal assemblage will reflect site use based on the established material correlates of a base camp (i.e. high species diversity, whole carcass transportation of large animals and evidence for multiple and diverse activities). Recovery bias and bone preservation were addressed as well, as these could have profound effects on interpretations of site function. The results indicate that site function is reflected in the faunal assemblages of this site, and is dependent on the season of occupation and subsistence/settlement strategy.

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