Vol. 43 (2020)
Research Project Cultural Resources and Human Dimensions

An analysis of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem archaeological assemblages of lithic raw materials

Chase Mahan
Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
Todd Surovell
Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
a red indian paintbrush at the edge of a steep hill with a lake tucked in the background

Published 2020-12-15


Procurement of lithic raw materials has long been studied in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, but it has lacked in its attention to non-volcanic sources. Sourcing tool stone has also long been problematic in the Intermountain West, where there is abundant lithic diversity with discontinuous source areas.  This study illustrates the great diversity of prehistoric foragers tool stone procurement strategies by analyzing the raw material types found within the archaeological sites of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Systematizing assemblages spatial distributions by placing them on the geological landscape enables statistical cluster analyses to elucidate potential procurement areas and greater characterize the mobility of past peoples.


Featured image by Anna Cressman taken from the UW-NPS photo collection.