Playa Archaeology on the Southern High Plains of Texas: A Spatial Analysis of Hunter-Gatherer Occupations at Tahoka-Walker (41LY53)

By Hurst, Stance; Johnson, Eileen et al. | Plains Anthropologist, August 2010 | Go to article overview

Playa Archaeology on the Southern High Plains of Texas: A Spatial Analysis of Hunter-Gatherer Occupations at Tahoka-Walker (41LY53)


Hurst, Stance, Johnson, Eileen, Holliday, Vance T., Butler, Sophie, Plains Anthropologist


Tahoka-Walker (41LYS3) is a multi-component Paleoindian and Late Archaic campsite located along the margins of a playa near the town of Tahoka on the Southern High Plains of Texas. Three discrete concentrations of artifacts observed while mapping the surface distribution of artifacts suggest separate activity areas. A spatial analysis of the distribution of lithic artifacts by their raw material source and minimum analytical nodule is undertaken to determine if a separate Paleoindian and Late Archaic occupation could be distinguished. In addition, minimum analytical nodules are used to deduce the technological planning strategies evident at Tahoka-Walker. A spatial analysis of hearthstones and bone scrap are used to compare with the distribution of lithic artifact clusters. Spatial analysis confirms the presence of three distinct areas that coincide with the three concentrations noted in the field. One is an activity area associated with a Paleoindian occupation, but Late Archaic activities overlap the Paleoindian activity area in extent, and cannot be distinguished spatially. Information recovered from the piece-point plotted surface artifacts holds great potential for spatial analysis, but investigating the spatial structure of the site is critical for determining what types of cultural inferences can be made about the site.

Keywords: southern High Plains, Paleoindian, Late Archaic, Minimum Analytical Nodule Analysis, surface archaeology

Surface localities defined by scatters of lithics and hearthstones are the most common type of site found in the archaeological record (Kvamme 1996). Often these sites are a mixture of unrelated occupations that frequently are ignored for their research value due to the onerous task of separating out artifacts left by different hunter-gatherer groups for analysis and interpretation. Piece-point plotting surface artifacts, however, may reveal discrete spatially segregated occupations allowing investigators to examine artifacts separately for interdependent occupations to provide interpretations of the past. In addition, minimum analytical nodule analysis (Larson 1994) and refitting (Bleed 2004) are lithic analytical techniques that help reveal the spatial structure of surface localities. Spatial analytical techniques were used for investigating Paleoindian and Late Archaic occupations exposed on the surface at the Tahoka-Walker site (41LY53). Paleoindian sites are rare on the southern High Plains surface, with few excavated and most known only from exposed materials. Efforts at Tahoka-Walker are among the first in the region to augment context and enhance the interpretive value of surface exposures.

Tahoka-Walker is located 2 km south of the town of Tahoka on the eastern side of the southern High Plains in Lynn County, Texas (Figure 1). The site is situated on the High Plains surface along the edge of a playa basin. Paleoindian sites on the High Plains surface generally occur within 1 km of a playa, and the current playa is 0.92 km south of the site. Owned by the city of Tahoka, areas to the east and south of the site have been converted into water reclamation basins. The site lies on a roughly even plain except the southern portion has a more undulating surface due to natural topography and construction of water reclamation basins. Vegetation at the site primarily is short-grass with sporadic mesquite trees (Figure 2).

A local resident of Tahoka discovered the remains of a Paleoindian and Late Archaic campsite exposed on the surface from erosion. Mr. Walker reported the site to the Museum of Texas Tech University and turned over his remaining collection (Table 1). Because Paleoindian sites are rare in intact upland settings on the southern High Plains (Johnson and Holliday 2004), a detailed investigation of the site was warranted.

Periodic field investigations took place in 2003, 2004, and 2006 totaling 12 days of fieldwork (Hurst et al. 2008). The exploration of hunter-gatherer lifeways at Tahoka-Walker was based on three research objectives: 1) to determine if intact subsurface deposits are present through shovel tests and coring; 2) to establish from the spatial analysis of surface data if separate prehistoric occupations are identifiable; and 3) to delineate land use strategies of past Paleoindian groups and other occupants of the site determined from an examination of raw material use and technological organization. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Playa Archaeology on the Southern High Plains of Texas: A Spatial Analysis of Hunter-Gatherer Occupations at Tahoka-Walker (41LY53)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.