Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

Michael Logan, Richard Jantz


The purpose of this study was to develop a model for understanding prehistoric chipped-stone debris distribution in the central Duck River Basin region located in Middle Tennessee. The model design consists of theoretical and empirical observations which are integrated to form an interpretive framework. Seven lithic assemblages ranging from Middle to Late Archaic periods (ca. 7000 to 3000 years B.P.) in age were analyzed to assess the model.

The first stage of model-building was the development of a theoretical foundation for approaching the problem. A cultural adaptation paradigm is the foundation cornerstone. Understanding cultural process and organization are emphasized. Lithic technology is viewed as an integral part of prehistoric cultural adaptation and lithic remains are regarded as critical indicators of behavioral variability. Environmental variables are stressed in interpreting lithic debris patterning across the landscape.

The second stage of model-building involved the construction of a set of observations on lithic resource types and their distributions in the study area. A regional lithic resource survey was implemented. Several chert types are defined and described. Emphasis is placed on macroscopic identification techniques. Quantification of lithic resource distribution patterns was achieved through a regional gravel study.

Application of the model to archaeological data was the last stage of model-building. Seven Middle-Late Archaic assemblages are compared. A pilot study of two assemblages initiates the comparison. Results of the interassemblage analysis suggest that Late Archaic settlement systems were more logistically organized and technological systems were less expediently organized than those of Middle Archaic groups. Differences between Middle and Late Archaic adaptations are viewed as responses to regional environmental and demographic trends. Documentation of these trends and their implications for subsistence, settlement, and social organization is considered. Evaluation of the model suggests adequate explanatory ability. The consideration of more assemblages is recommended for improving model accuracy.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Anthropology Commons