Lithic technology and toolstone variability at two gravel exposures neighboring the eastern llano estacado

Paul N. Backhouse, Eileen Johnson, Doug Cunningham

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8 Scopus citations


Lithic analysis on the southern High Plains traditionally has focused on behavioral inferences based in part on the geographic relationship between disparately distributed high quality toolstone sources. These sources often are used as a proxy for behavior by which hunter-gatherer mobility within the wider region can be modeled based on the presence or absence of specific material types within any one assemblage. In contrast, utilization of secondary lithic material sources, such as the alluvial gravels, has received relatively little attention. The corollary of this research tradition is that hunter-gatherer resource scheduling strategies appear to be highly structured and necessarily dependant on logistical trips to the high quality toolstone locations. Two sites used for extensive procurement of Ogallala Formation gravels provide an opportunity to examine the range of material available to hunter-gatherer groups at locations between the high quality sources. Characterization and technological analysis of these secondary sources has been achieved through systematic sampling to record the variability in lithic source material, technology, and geomorphic processes. The results are significant for the interpretation of lithic technology at this location and for the wider understanding of hunter-gatherer populations moving through the rich resource areas at the edge of the southern High Plains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-279
Number of pages21
JournalPlains Anthropologist
Issue number211
StatePublished - 2009


  • Lithic characterization
  • Ogallala formation
  • Potter member gravels
  • Southern high plains
  • Technology


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