A Quantitative Analysis of Promontory Cave 1: An Archaeological Study on Population Size, Occupation Span, Artifact Use-life, and Accumulation

  • Author / Creator
    Hallson, Jennifer I
  • Promontory Cave 1 on Great Salt Lake, Utah exhibits an incredible level of preservation rarely seen at archaeological sites. The high proportion of perishable materials provides a unique opportunity to study cultural remains that are usually lost to taphonomic processes. Extensive radiocarbon dating has defined a narrow occupation period of ca. 1250-1290 CE (Ives et al. 2014) and the bounded space of the cave allows for confident estimations of the total number of artifacts present. I have completed quantitative analyses that use several methods to study Cave 1 and its inhabitants, including: artifact density, three-dimensional modeling, proportional calculations, accumulation equations, and statistical equations. Archaeologists know surprisingly little about the rates at which artifacts enter the archaeological record and my analyses examine this factor along with related variables such as use-life and accumulation with the above methods. The above methods also allow for inferences to be made on population size, composition, and occupation span and frequency. Quantitative analyses of the Promontory Cave 1 assemblage can be linked directly to the exploration of Dene migration southward from Canada, as artifacts found in the cave point towards an identity of Apachean ancestors during their migration south. This research also has the potential for much broader application in archaeological investigations by increasing our awareness of what is usually missing; organic artifacts by far dominated past life but are often forgotten during site analysis. This research shows that consideration of the role of perishable artifacts is important in archaeological studies even when they are not present.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Vallianatos, Helen (Anthropology)
    • Gruhn, Ruth (Anthropology)
    • Supernant, Kisha (Anthropology)