Clovis Excavations at Topper 2005-2007: Examining Site Formation Processes at an Upland Paleoindian Site along the Middle Savannah River
D. Shane Miller
With this inaugural issue of the Occasional Papers series of the Southeastern Paleoamerican Survey, we are pleased to offer this monograph by D. Shane Miller which was based on his masters thesis research at the Topper site. His excavations, conducted over 2006-2007, resulted in a 64m square block, the largest contiguous unit yet excavated at Topper. Situated in a previously plowed firebreak on the southern hillside exhibiting partial erosion, it was decided to take advantage of this situation and recover the basal Clovis remains in the undisturbed portion of the profile. This strategy worked well and allowed Miller to fairly quickly access a large, relatively well preserved portion of the Clovis deposit as found in the lower firebreak. Miller presents the first thorough analysis of the Clovis occupation of what has been called the Hillside at Topper, reconstructing the geoarchaeological matrix so necessary for contextualizing these important 13,000 year old artifacts. In the course of his study, he does yeoman service by systematically analyzing the assemblage and stratigraphy by considering a variety of relevant agencies that might have formed or even deformed the original deposit. He provides a compelling reconstruction of the natural and cultural formation processes and concludes that the Clovis deposit as it is found on the hill slope is reasonably intact and interpretable and well suited for archaeological inferences.