2016 BARG Awardees Selected

Terminal Pleistocene/Early Holocene Exploitation of Fine-Grained Volcanic Toolstone in the Greater Mojave Desert

Mark E. Basgall, CSU Sacramento
This study investigates early use of fine-grained volcanic (FGV) toolstone in Mojave Desert archaeological collections. While FGV stone was commonly employed for bifacial implements during the Lake Mohave and Pinto periods, it remains uncertain how far raw material was being transported and what geographic ranges were being traversed. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) methods will be employed to source time-diagnostic artifacts from a variety of regional localities in an effort to establish baseline information on the conveyance of FGV (basalt/ andesite/ dacite) lithic materials. Project will also involve chemical characterization of two key quarry deposits.


Research on the Harkleroad Native American Ceramic Vessel Collection, San Diego Museum of Man

Susan M. Hector, PhD, RPA, Center for Research in Traditional Culture of the Americas
Museum collections of ceramic vessels provide an opportunity to analyze attributes that provide information on manufacturing, use, distribution, and disposal of pottery. The Harkleroad collection at the San Diego Museum of Man consists of vessels from the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and adjoining region that have not been analyzed. The proposed project uses data from this collection to inform sherd analysis. The goal of the research is to associate vessel attributes (form, decoration, composition) with locations and cultural groups. These associations can then be used to interpret fragmentary pottery sherds found at archaeological sites, and analyze regional and cultural variability.


Obsidian Source Diversity in the West-Central Mojave Desert: Making a Case for Small Flakes

Melanie P. Saldana, CSU Los Angeles
Obsidian flake deposits in the west-central Mojave Desert general contain flakes sizes that in the past were considered too small for sourcing, with testing limited to the largest sized materials. The bias in flake size has limited our ability to access diversity of obsidian sources. However, improvements in technology now allow accurate testing of these materials. Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) was applied to flakes of 1.5cm or smaller from a single site, where surprising source diversity was revealed. This project seeks to conduct obsidian sourcing with an assemblage of small flakes in order to expand our knowledge of the prehistoric west-central Mojave Desert.