Douglas A. Sain



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This monograph, by Douglas A. Sain, is based on his master’s thesis research on the organization of Clovis blade technology. This second monograph of the Occasional Papers series of the Southeastern Paleoamerican Survey closely follows the first in terms of the meticulousness of the study, and the new information it provides about the Topper Site. Detailed studies of Clovis material are eagerly sought by Paleoindian archaeologists, enthusiasts, and particularly by lithic analysts. Sain provides a well-rounded literature review for these groups, and an innovative approach to identifying technological blades. The “mixed assemblage” problem resulting when multiple lithic technologies were used at a single site is one with which lithic analysts continue to struggle. With a quarry site such as Topper and the wide variety of core forms and tools recovered, a nuanced and consistent approach to blade identification is a necessity if one wants to consider broader questions of technological organization. Recognizing variability in the end-product of blade manufacture and the relative importance of some characteristics over others, Sain weights six attributes from three to one and through detailed study of individual detached pieces produces a score. With a maximum value of 12, those with a score of seven or higher are considered a blade. This provides a consistent, replicable procedure for separating blades from blade-like flakes, and using these data in the consideration of Clovis lifeways. The small percentage of blades at Topper with modification, when coupled with a consideration of assemblages in the local and broader region, provide evidence that blades were part of a curated technology and toolkit, a transportable and reliable product that could be maintained as people moved across the landscape. This work provides a specific reconstruction of Clovis technological organization in the Savannah River Valley, and should inspire broader considerations of blade technology elsewhere in the Americas.

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The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology--University of South Carolina




Clovis, Topper, Lithic, Settlements, Blades, Paleoindian, South Carolina




This is the second in the Southeastern Paleoamerican Survey's 'Occasional Papers' series.

Clovis Blade Technology at the Topper Site (38AL23): Assessing Lithic Attribute Variation and Regional Patterns of Technological Organization

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