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PALEOINDIAN OCCUPATION IN THE NEW ENGLAND-MARITIMES REGION: BEYOND CULTURAL ECOLOGY

Arthur Spiess, Deborah Wilson and James W. Bradley
Archaeology of Eastern North America
Vol. 26 (1998), pp. 201-264
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40897757
Page Count: 64
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PALEOINDIAN OCCUPATION IN THE NEW ENGLAND-MARITIMES REGION: BEYOND CULTURAL ECOLOGY
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Abstract

There has been a recent, rapid increase in the number of known sites in the New England-Maritimes region, and in the number of excavated sites. We have not yet seen a true Clovis assemblage in the region, although if present a Clovis assemblage would automatically become the oldest. The earliest fluted point occupation may be the Bull Brook phase, analagous to the Gainey phase in the Great Lakes. The deeply indented-base points of the Vail and Debert style probably fit somewhere early in the sequence. We designate a Michaud-Neponsetphase, which is closely related to the Parkhill phase in the Great Lakes. We have designated the Nicholas phase as closely related to the Holcombe-like material in the Great Lakes. Radiocarbon dates are few and problematic in the region, but the chronology extends over almost 1000 radiocarbon years. Subsistence patterns are poorly known. There are charred berry seeds from two sites. Faunal remains from Paleoindian occupations in the region are dominated by caribou. Mammoth and mastodon were definitely present in the New England-Maritimes region and contemporary with at least some of the fluted-point Paleoindian occupation. There are regularities of Paleoindian site location choice within the region, on sandy soils often adjacent to a small drainage, and regularities in intra-site settlement pattern which indicate short-term occupation by small groups which rarely returned to use the same location. Lithic raw material use in the New England-Maritimes region does not seem to be well patterned. Some sites are dominated by one lithic material, while some sites have no dominant lithic material. We attempt to characterize Paleoindian migration and colonizaton behavior and examine the implications of such behavior for the archaeological record. We propose that Paleoindian migration and colonization behavior was highly structured and an integral part of the Paleoindian cultural system. Any theory that attempts to account for Paleoindian settlement and use of the New England-Maritimes region must account for more than an initial episode of immigration and subsequent local ecological adaptation.

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