Paper No. 122-0
GEOARCHAEOLOGY OF THE PLEISTOCENE-HOLOCENE TRANSITION IN THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES
GOODYEAR, Albert C. III, SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, Univ of South Carolina, 1321 Pendleton St, Columbia, SC 29208, goodyear@sc.edu.

Historically, archaeological interest in the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the Southeastern United States has centered on the traditional conception of Paleoindian cultures starting with Clovis at ca. 11,200 B.P. and ending with the onset of the Early Archaic at about 10,000 B.P. This time span saw evident changes in stone tool technologies with Clovis asociated with now exinct ice age faunas and Early Archaic assemblages focused on modern flora and fauna. Good geological contexts for these sites, especially the fluted point assemblages, have been difficult to locate. Enough geoarchaeological studies have been conducted in the past 20 years, however, to allow some generalizations about types and locations of depositional processes and their paleoenvironmental implications. Alluvial deposits in particular have provided insights into the pedo-sedimentary records reflecting time and the evolution of paleo drainage systems with implications for climate. With the possibility of pre-Clovis (< 11,200 B.P.) human occupations emerging in the Southeast, geoarchaeological studies of deposits as old as 18,000 B.P. are necessary. The scouring and incising of major rivers around 14,000 B.P. and the subsequent resetting of the channel elevations to modern or Holocene positions has implications for prospecting for pre-Clovis sites in river valleys. Examples of archaeological sites in the late glacial floodplains vs. post 14,000 B.P. terraces are reviewed. With the extension of archaeological records back to 15,000 B.P. in the Southeast, the time frame for studying the Pleistocene-Holocene transition from a geoarchaeological perspective has lengthened by several thousand years. It is clear that more interdisciplinary studies will be necessary in order to document time and stratigraphy for this dynamic period given the antiquity and variable preservation of both human and natural records.

GSA Annual Meeting, November 5-8, 2001
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 122
Archaeological Geology and the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition
Hynes Convention Center: 206
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Wednesday, November 7, 2001
 

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