March 17, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Gingerich Presents on Paleoindian Research at Society for American Archaeology

Joseph Gingerich outside next to pillar

Dr. Joseph Gingerich

Dr. Joseph Gingerich, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, was session chair and presenter at the 82nd Annual Society for American Archaeology national conference in March in Vancouver, British Columbia.

His two presentations were “Refitting Paleoindian Workspaces and Activity Areas” and “Exploring Artifact Trampling at an Early Paleoindian Site.” Both of these presentations present preliminary results from his recently awarded National Science Foundation grant. In the second presentation he is co-author with an undergraduate student from North Carolina State University, whom Gingerich sponsored for a Smithsonian Internship prior to starting at Ohio University for the 2016-17 academic year.

Gingerich’s areas of research include archaeology, hunting and gathering societies, spatial analysis, and Paleoindian-new world colonization. He teaches courses including North American Prehistory and Stone Tool Technology and Analysis.

The Society for American Archaeology is an international organization dedicated to the research, interpretation, and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas. With more than 7,000 members, the society represents professional, student and avocational archaeologists working in a variety of settings including government agencies, colleges and universities, museums, and the private sector. Since its inception in 1934, the society has endeavored to stimulate interest and research in American archaeology; advocated and aided in the conservation of archaeological resources; encouraged public access to and appreciation of archaeology; opposed all looting of sites and the purchase and sale of looted archaeological materials; and served as a bond among those interested in the archaeology of the Americas.

The session he is chairing looks at intra-site spatial patterning and the Paleoindian record (13,000 – 11,000 years ago) of Eastern North America. Ethnoarchaeological studies have shown the value of studying human spatial arrangements to characterize group size, group relatedness, subsistence practices, and other economic activities. Over the years a number of Paleoindian sites in eastern North America have been excavated that contain precise spatial data on artifacts and features. These sites range from small ephemeral campsites to larger habitation sites with multiple loci. Through various analyses, presenters in this symposium present on-going research focused on intra-site spatial patterning. As a whole these studies offer new directions in exploring spatial patterning at hunter-gatherer campsites and contribute to a larger goal of building spatial databases that will allow for future comparisons between sites.

His two presentations focus on identifying individual work areas and examining post-depositional disturbances of artifacts within a 13,000-year-old campsite in Pennsylvania. These data provide insights into the structure of other Paleoindian campsites, including the predictable distribution of specific artifact types and tool maintenance debris. Ultimately this research will help archaeologists around the world better interpret the formation and the distribution of artifacts at mobile hunter-gatherer campsites. This work has been supported by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation.

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