Thunderbird Archaeological District

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Thunderbird Archaeological District
Thunderbird Archeological District.jpg
Part of the neighborhood developed on top of the district
Nearest city Limeton, Virginia
NRHP reference No. 77001495
VLR No.093-0165
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 5, 1977 [1]
Designated NHLDMay 5, 1977 [2]
Designated VLRDecember 16, 1975 [3]

The Thunderbird Archaeological District, near Limeton, Virginia, is an archaeological district described as consisting of "three sites—Thunderbird Site, the Fifty Site, and the Fifty Bog—which provide a stratified cultural sequence spanning Paleo-Indian cultures through the end of Early Archaic times with scattered evidence of later occupation." [2]

Contents

Thunderbird Site

This archaeological site, located in Warren County, Virginia, near modern-day Front Royal in the Shenandoah River Valley is a major site of the Paleoindian Clovis culture in Virginia. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977 because it yielded dense archaeological remains as well as evidence for what is quite possibly the oldest structure in North America. [2] The site is one of three which make up the Thunderbird archaeological complex which consists of 2,500 acres of sites spanning the prehistoric era. The major occupations at Thunderbird site are known to date to the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene epochs and include Clovis and later projectile points forms, as well as an array of other tools and manufacturing debris. [4] Radiocarbon dates indicate some of the occupations date to 9900 BP (before present). [5]

Background

Thunderbird is considered a part of the Flint Run Complex and consists of a group of sites located in and around a jasper quarry. [6] Jasper is a mineral that is usually red and is known to break with a smooth surface. The site's relation to the quarry is important because the Paleoindians used the jasper to create tools, such as the Clovis points. It can also be used for decoration and for creating bow drills to start fires.

Thunderbird has yielded Clovis points that date between 9500 and 9000 B.C. [4] The inhabitants of the site are presumed to have been hunters since the tool kit found is associated with hunting wild animals. Thunderbird is a stratified site that has evidence structures found just below the plow zone along with tools, points and flakes of points. [7] Because of its stratified deposits, Thunderbird is one of the sites used to develop a sequence of Paleo-Indian and Early Archaic assemblages in Eastern North America. [8] Not only does the site have Clovis points, Thunderbird also has been credited with a point that is rarely found throughout the Middle Atlantic region: the Hardaway Dalton point, a point with shallow side notches and a deep basal concavity. [9] This point averages of 60 mm in length, 35 mm across and has an average thickness of 7 mm. [10] The microblades found at Thunderbird site are rare and linked to a few other sites, which include the Williamson Site in Dinwiddie County. [11] The Thunderbird site was originally located a great distance from the coast in the Late Pleistocene epoch, but it is now much closer to the coast due to rising sea levels and when occupied, seasonality would have been greater than at present. [12]

Significant findings

It is believed that the Thunderbird site had a large population due to the vast number of artifacts discovered. This contradicts earlier views that Paleoindian peoples lived in small groupings except for the occasional large gathering for a few weeks at a time to maintain kinship networks as well as share food source knowledge. [13]

The Thunderbird site is known for Clovis points, a projectile point that has bifacial flaking. Bifacial flaking is the knapping of a point on both sides to create a blade. These points can be found across most of North America.

See also

Related Research Articles

Clovis point

Clovis points are the characteristically-fluted projectile points associated with the New World Clovis culture. They are present in dense concentrations across much of North America; in South America, they are largely restricted to the north of that continent. Clovis points date to the Early Paleoindian period roughly 13,500 to 12,800 calendar years ago. Clovis fluted points are named after the city of Clovis, New Mexico, where examples were first found in 1929 by Ridgely Whiteman.

Paleo-Indians Classification term given to the first peoples who entered the American continents

Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleo-Americans, were the first peoples who entered, and subsequently inhabited, the Americas during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period. The prefix "paleo-" comes from the Greek adjective palaios (παλαιός), meaning "old" or "ancient". The term "Paleo-Indians" applies specifically to the lithic period in the Western Hemisphere and is distinct from the term "Paleolithic".

Big Eddy Site

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David G. Anderson is an archaeologist in the department of anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who specializes in Southeastern archaeology. His professional interests include climate change and human response, exploring the development of cultural complexity in Eastern North America, maintaining and improving the nation's Cultural Resource management (CRM) program, teaching and writing about archaeology, and developing technical and popular syntheses of archaeological research. He is the project director of the on-line Paleoindian Database of the Americas (PIDBA). and a Co-Director, with Joshua J. Wells, Eric C, Kansa, and Sarah Whitcher Kansa, of the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA)

J&J Hunt Site (8JE740) is an inundated prehistoric archaeological site located 6 km off the coast of northwestern Florida. The site which was discovered in 1989 is located in 3.7 to 4.6 m of salt water in the Gulf of Mexico along the PaleoAucilla River. In prehistory the site had at least two different occupations: a Late Paleoindian-Early Archaic and Middle Archaic. The J&J Hunt site was a major focus of the PaleoAucilla Prehistory Project conducted by Dr. Michael K. Faught.

Blackwater Draw Dry stream channel in New Mexico, US

Blackwater Draw is an intermittent stream channel about 140 km (87 mi) long, with headwaters in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, about 18 km (11 mi) southwest of Clovis, New Mexico, and flows southeastward across the Llano Estacado toward the city of Lubbock, Texas, where it joins Yellow House Draw to form Yellow House Canyon at the head of the North Fork Double Mountain Fork Brazos River. It stretches across eastern Roosevelt County, New Mexico, and Bailey, Lamb, Hale, and Lubbock Counties of West Texas and drains an area of 1,560 sq mi (4,040 km2).

Prehistory of Ohio

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Golondrina point

Golondrina points are lanceolate spear or dart projectile points, of medium size, dated to the transitional Paleo-Indian Period, between 9000–7000 BP. Golondrina points were attached on split-stem hafts and may have served to bring down medium-sized animals such as deer, as well as functioning as butchering knives. Distribution is widespread throughout most of Texas, and points have also been discovered in Arkansas and Mexico. The concentration of Golondrina specimens is highest across the South Texas Plains, where the point is the most prevalent of Paleo-Indian types and defines a distinctive cultural pattern for the region. The Golondrina point is so named for its flared basal corners ("ears"), which resemble a swallow's split tail. Classification of Golondrina can be difficult because of its similarity to other types, particularly the Plainview point, to which it was originally thought to be related.

Barnes' points are lanceolate Paleo-Indian projectile points distributed throughout the lower northeastern United States, from Missouri to the Great Lakes area, extending into Canada. Barnes points are associated with the Early Paleoindian Parkhill complex of the eastern Great Lakes region, with sites being especially common in southwestern Ontario. Barnes points have also been found in northeastern Indiana, which suggests affinities with the Great Lakes region during the early and middle portions of the Paleoindian period. It is a large, fluted spear point with "delicate ears" and a fishtail base. The fluting, or groove in the center of the point, tends to extend nearly the entire length of the point. It was first classified in 1963 by William Roosa. The Barnes site, in Midland County, Michigan, was first located by Mr. Wallace Hill, whose house was then a few hundred feet from the site. The staff of the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology was informed of the site in 1959. William Roosa recognized that the fluting technique on the points, while similar to that of Folsom points, was otherwise unique.

Jack Hranicky

Jack Hranicky is a Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA). During his forty-year career his scholarship has focused on the Paleo-Indian period and, in particular, stone tools and rock art. He has published more than 200 scholarly papers and 32 books, including a two-volume, 800-page survey of the material culture of Virginia. He is the webmaster of www.bipoints.com, which is a site on American early prehistory.

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John Broster

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Gault (archaeological site)

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Swan Point Archaeological Site United States historic place

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Welling Site

Welling Site is an archaeological site of the Paleo-Indian period, meaning the time of the earliest humans. Located in Coshocton County, Ohio, it was a site for quarrying stone in the Upper Mercer chert source area. Based upon the microwear analysis of stone tools, it is believed to be a base camp where people learned and shared Clovis tool-making techniques, ate, exchanged information, and perhaps found mates from others groups.

References

  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. 1 2 3 "Thunderbird Archaeological District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  3. "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  4. 1 2 William M. Gardner (1983). Stop me if you’ve Heard This One Before: The Flint Run Paleo-Indian Complex Revisited. (Archaeology of Eastern North America) 1983. p.49-64.
  5. David J. Meltzer (1988). Late Pleistocene Human Adaptations in Eastern North America. (Journal of World Prehistory) 1988. p.1-52
  6. Audrey J. Horning (2004). Cultural Overview of City Point, Petersburg National Battlefield, Hopewell, Virginia. (Colonial Williamsburg Archaeological Reports) 2004.
  7. David G. Anderson (2012). Paleoindian Archaeology in Eastern North America: Current Approaches and Future Directions. p. 379
  8. "The Earliest Americans Theme Study." (2012).
  9. Dr. Billy Oliver (1999). Typology Lecture. U wharries Lithics Research Conference 1999. Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Hadaway-Dalton. (2012).
  11. Wm Jack Hranicky (2005). A Microblade Core from the Williamson Site, Dinwiddie County, Virginia. (Archaeology of Eastern North America, Vol. 33). p. 51-56.
  12. David G. Anderson and Kenneth E. Sassaman (2012). Recent Developments in Southeastern Archaeology: From Colonization to Complexity. (Society for American Archaeology. (The SAA Press) 2012. p. 51.
  13. Mary Lucas Powell (1989). Thunderbird Site Threatened. (Southeastern Archaeological Conference Newsletter Vol. 31, No. 2 University of Kentucky, Lexington KY) 1989.

Further reading

Books

Papers