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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Little Lake Site, Pinto Points, and Obsidian Dating in the Great Basin


Analysis of obsidian dating for 60 points from Harrington's excavations at Little Lake (Stahl site), yields the following conclusions: Obsidian in the southwestern part of the Great Basin has a quite different (and faster) hydration rate than obsidian from the northern and eastern parts of the Great Basin. (2) The cultural assemblage at the Little Lake site is essentially uniform; while the site was used for at least 2000 years, there is no detectable culture change so far as the point types are concerned. The major occupation of the Little Lake site was not far from Harrington's original estimate of 3000-4000 years ago. Based on the variability of contemporaneous points in the Pinto assemblage at Little Lake (in size, form, and workmanship), overly refined point typologies in the Great Basin may prove to have descriptive value only, and may not have as much cultural significance as the archaeologists would hope for.

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