Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Kenneth G. Kelly

Second Advisor

Charles R. Cobb


Based on a sample of Coastal Plain Middle Archaic sites in addition to lithic debitage data from three Morrow Mountain (7,500-5,500 BP) occupation clusters at the Three Springs site (38RD837/841/842/844), Richland County, South Carolina, this dissertation explores the applicability of a model of Adaptive Flexibility to the Morrow Mountain occupations of the South Carolina Sandhills Province. The model of Adaptive Flexibility was developed to explain the redundant, low-density scatters of lithic debitage and generalized, expedient tools made of locally available raw materials that characterize the Middle Archaic, specifically Morrow Mountain, archaeological record of the South Carolina Piedmont. Multiple lines of lithic debitage analysis (i.e., mass analysis, aggregate trend analysis, and individual attribute analysis) were employed to understand the technological strategies, economy, and mobility of the Morrow Mountain peoples in the Sandhills Province through the organization of technology concept. These analyses suggest that within the Sandhills Province the key characteristics of Adaptive Flexibility—a reliable resource base, high levels of residential mobility, generalized and unspecialized expedient toolkits, and equal access to lithic raw materials—were present during the Morrow Mountain cultural horizon. Moving beyond Adaptive Flexibility, this dissertation speculates that an expedient tool technology and use of readily-available, local lithic raw materials would have provided the Morrow Mountain peoples free time for the deliberate modification of the Sandhills vegetation.


© 2016, Audrey Rachel Dawson