Campfires in context hunter-gatherer fire technology and the archaeological record of the South High Plains, USA.

Backhouse, P. N., 2008. Campfires in context hunter-gatherer fire technology and the archaeological record of the South High Plains, USA. PhD Thesis (PhD). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

The need to control and manipulate fire appears to be a fundamental human technology, as important today as it once was to our ancestors. It is therefore unsurprising that evidence for the human use of fire in discrete facilities, commonly known as campfires and hearths, is an often observed and necessarily recorded phenomenon during archaeological research. Despite the apparent ubiquity of such features, only limited research has been devoted to understanding the anthropogenic activities that generated them. In response, a research programme is initiated which focuses on the archaeological record of the small fire features or localised thermal features (LTFs) built by the prehistoric hunter-gatherer groups living on and around the Southern High Plains of North America. The aim of the programme is to examine the extent to which variation in the construction, use, and archaeological expression of these features is valuable for understanding the subsistence activities of human groups in the past. Four analytical strands of research (a taxonomic key, ethnographic research, experimental research, and fieldwork) are utilised to explore this topic. The generation of a taxonomic key results in a common vocabulary by which previously recorded and newly identified LTFs are described and assessed; ethnographic research underscores the range in technologies that can be represented by LTFs; specific features types are recorded by detailed fieldwork; and the physical processes by which these signatures were created is examined by experimental research. The results demonstrate that variation in the archaeological record of these features is easily identifiable and extremely useful for understanding hunter-gatherer technology, subsistence, and demography. A significant conclusion, based on preliminary application to a second geographic area, shows the potential for similar projects to be usefully applied to other regions in which hunter-gatherer populations were once extant.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Bournemouth University for the degree of Doctor of Philsophy = 2 volumes.If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Subjects:History > Archaeology
Group:School of Applied Sciences
ID Code:10422
Deposited By:Mrs Jill Burns
Deposited On:03 Aug 2009 17:43
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:10

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