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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The organization of microcore technology in the Canadian southern interior plateau Greaves, Sheila


The purpose of this research is to construct and test a model of the organization of microcore technology, a standardized core technology, within the subsistence-settlement system of prehistoric, semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers. The study of technological organization involves investigation of why a society selects particular tool designs, and how it structures the manufacture, use, maintenance and discard of tools and associated debitage across the landscape. The model tested here associates the use of microcore technology with a design for a maintainable and transportable tool assemblage which conserves lithic material, and with a regional distribution focused on residential camps as the locus of microcore manufacture and microblade production and use. The model is tested through a comparative case study of archaeological tools and debitage from microlithic and non-microlithic sites in two upland valleys in the British Columbia Southern Interior Plateau. Research hypotheses and corresponding test implications are evaluated with data and analyses relating to core reduction and tool production stages, to tool use, and to activity area patterning within the sites. Results of hypothesis testing indicate that the model only partially explains the role of this particular standardized core technology in the study areas. Microcore technology is found to be associated with high residential and logistical mobility; a transportable, expediently-used tool assemblage; and the conservation of a specific raw material in one valley. Thus, this research proposes that microcore technology was a standardized technology which was variable in design goals and distribution, even within the same geographically and ethnographically defined region.

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