Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


STAHLMAN, Patricia A. and VENTO, Frank J., Department of Geology, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA 16214,

“Parrish” Rockshelter is situated in a near-vertical rock face along a high upland divide within the Unglaciated Appalachian Plateaus. To date, archaeological materials recovered from this rockshelter indicate occupations from the late Archaic through the late Woodland (6000 yrs. B.P. through 500 yrs. B.P.); however, the site’s sediments have the potential to yield evidence of much earlier occupations. At “Parrish” Rockshelter, ongoing geological processes established a prehistoric habitation location and provided a mode for the preservation of evidence of cultural occupation. The rock reentrant has formed from the in situ weathering of lower Pennsylvanian age interbedded sandstones and conglomerates. Development of the rock reentrant has proceeded since the Wisconsinan glacial period in response to changes in climate which affected the rates of weathering and mass wasting, and subsequent site sedimentation. The dominate processes for site sedimentation both inside and outside the dripline are grain by grain attrition, rock fall, and slope wash. As a result of limited archaeological excavations, seven distinct lithostratigraphic units have been identified within the extant dripline of the rockshelter. The two principal artifact bearing lithostratigraphic units correlate temporally with well-dated paleosols found in fluvial contexts within the upper Ohio River drainage basin. Granulometric, micromorphology, and biogeochemical analysis of each lithostratigraphic unit have provided important information regarding the effects of climate on rockshelter evolution, sediment diagenesis, site sedimentation, and prehistoric occupation.