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Agency

Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/.ita.2014.1.24

Abstract

The Quince site (34AT134) is a well-preserved and relatively deeply stratified Ouachita Mountains archaeological site in Atoka County in southeastern Oklahoma. The site’s archaeological deposits are buried in Late Pleistocene and Holocene alluvial terrace deposits of McGee Creek, a tributary to Muddy Boggy Creek, itself a southern-flowing tributary to the Red River, that cuts through the western edge of the mountains.

Excavated in 1982 and 1983 prior to the creation of McGee Creek Reservoir by the Bureau of Reclamation, the 3.0 m deep archaeological deposits at the Quince site contained a record of prehistoric occupations spanning most of the Holocene period (from ca. 10,500 B.P to 1000 radiocarbon years B.P., or ca. 12,590 to 927 calibrated years B.P.) Woodland (Component I), Late Archaic (Components II and III), and Middle Archaic (Component IV) period occupational deposits are present in good stratigraphic order within the upper 1 m of McGee Creek alluvium. There are also a series of buried Late Paleoindian occupations (in what is defined as Component V) with features and chipped stone lithic tools recovered in situ that are recognized beginning from about 1.10 m to 3.0 m in depth below the surface. In this article, I discuss the archaeological evidence for use of the Western Ouachita Mountains by Late Paleoindian foragers as seen principally from the micro-scale; that is, from the perspective of this one well-preserved and stratified Late Paleoindian site.

Paleoindian occupations with good stratigraphic context are apparently quite rare in the Ouachita Mountains and along the edge of the Southeastern woodlands and the Great Plains in the eastern and eastcentral part of the state of Oklahoma. Much of the archaeological research dealing with Late Paleoindian peoples in this region has dealt primarily with the description and classification of isolated temporally diagnostic projectile points (and the kinds of lithic raw materials employed in projectile point manufacture) found on the surface or in mixed and relatively shallow stratigraphic contexts. The Quince site Late Paleoindian archaeological deposits provide direct and compelling evidence for the long-term and recurrent use of the western Ouachita Mountains by hunter-gatherer groups.

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