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Pavement Quarries, Gypsum Period Residential Stability, and Trans-Holocene Settlement Systems of the Mojave Desert: A Case Study at Fort Irwin

  • Author(s): Byrd, Brian F.
  • Young, D. Craig
  • McGuire, Kelly R.
  • et al.
Abstract

This paper takes a geoarchaeological contextual approach in arguing that pavement quarries—those assay and reduction events directed at cobbles that often litter expansive desert alluvial landforms—can provide a powerful index of changing trans-Holocene settlement organization. Focusing on multiple lines of evidence—age estimates of alluvial fan surfaces, quarry technology, patination pro les, and regional toolstone consumption trends at residential sites—we explore the temporal and technological development of quarry pavement use at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Mojave Desert. The analysis reveals that chert pavement quarrying was in ascendance during the early portion of the Late Holocene and had a strong biface production component. This landform-based model of Holocene pavement quarry development provides support for reconstructions that envision Gypsum period hunter-gatherers as residentially stable, and as undertaking increased logistical forays during which pavement quarry procurement took place.

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