Michelle Rae Bebber

Michelle Rae Bebber
Kent State University | KSU · Department of Anthropology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

58
Publications
16,063
Reads
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416
Citations
Citations since 2017
57 Research Items
416 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
Introduction
Michelle Rae Bebber is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Kent State University. She has degrees in Biological Anthropology (Ph.D.), Experimental Archaeology (M.A.), Interdisciplinary Anthropology (B.A.), and Studio Art (B.A.) with a focus in ceramics. Michelle specializes in experimental archaeology and co-directs the KSU Experimental Archaeology Laboratory. Her research involves early metal technologies, ceramic production and function, stone tool analysis, and projectile weaponry.
Additional affiliations
August 2019 - present
Kent State University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
December 2016 - July 2020
Kent State University
Position
  • Instructor
Description
  • Instructor for: Human Evolution Introduction to Archaeology

Publications

Publications (58)
Article
The occurrence of unnotched triangular points is exceptional in the North American archaeological record. The study of these items can shed light on selective forces that influence the evolution of prehistoric weaponry, especially that which involves small stone tipped projectiles, which is itself a global phenomenon during the late Pleistocene and...
Article
The addition of pottery additives (temper) provides both production-based benefits gained during the initial vessel formation phase, and performance-based benefits associated with post-firing vessel daily use. This paper presents the results of a controlled archaeological experiment designed to assess the opportunity costs associated with the addit...
Article
Description and microwear analysis of Clovis artifacts on a glacially-deposited secondary chert source near the Hartley Mastodon discovery, Columbiana County, Northeastern Ohio, U.S.A. a b s t r a c t Five Clovis lithic artifacts were found in a plowed farm field just north of an unnamed tributary of the Mahoning River, Columbiana County, Northeast...
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Full-text available
Lithic technologies dominate understanding of early humans, yet natural processes can fracture rock in ways that resemble artefacts made by Homo sapiens and other primates. Differentiating between fractures made by natural processes and primates is important for assessing the validity of early and controversial archaeological sites. Rather than dep...
Article
This study is an assessment of Clovis knife edge effectiveness and wear. This work is the fourth contribution in a series of experiments aimed at shedding light on the functional performance of distinct Clovis “point” forms. Here, we used both edges from 14 replica Clovis point forms in a wood slicing task: the first seven forms represent the avera...
Article
During the Middle and Late Woodland periods in the American Midwest some small-scale societies transitioned from grit to limestone as the primary clay temper. Limestone offers experimentally demonstrated benefits to vessel manufacture, including decreased wall thickness, but given the society-wide changes in mobility and exchange that also occurred...
Article
Two Paleoindian fluted points were recently donated to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The first is a Clovis point from Nuckolls County, Nebraska; the second is a Folsom point from Scott County, Illinois. Here, following our earlier and ongoing efforts to work with avocational archaeologists, citizen scientists, and collectors, we describe...
Article
During the North American Late Archaic Period, people produced ceramic vessels from clay and stone vessels from soapstone. While both ceramic and soapstone vessels proliferated across eastern North America, the former evolved and endured into the subsequent periods, while the latter declined. Here, we conducted an experiment to assess heating effec...
Article
Stone tool backing repeatedly occurred on several continents throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene. Yet, any potential utilitarian advantages or disadvantages of backed stone tools relative to non-backed tools has been experimentally under-explored. Modern engineering experiments involving adhesion mechanics suggest an inverse relationship betwee...
Article
Our article “On the efficacy of Clovis fluted points for hunting proboscideans” (Eren et al., 2021), sought to assess whether these stone points were, as conventional wisdom had it, highly effective weapon components for inflicting lethal wounds on proboscideans. Although Clovis points had been used to bring down proboscideans, we observed that the...
Article
Full-text available
Stone‐tipped weaponry was important to the survival of past peoples, and many functional and non‐functional factors likely influenced their design. Two functional factors that past peoples likely considered in the design of their stone tips are durability (whether a stone tip breaks or not) and robusticity (how much damage is incurred upon breakage...
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North America's ancient copper use, predicted to originate as early as 9000 cal BP, represents the earliest use of native copper for utilitarian tool production in the world. Although recent work has focused on establishing the first use of copper in the western Great Lakes region, little attention has been paid to determining the age ranges of sub...
Article
Stone lanceolate projectile points are characterized as having a lance shape with a tip tapering to an apex and are found in the archaeological record at different times and places across the world. In North America, lanceolate points are an important component of the Paleoindian period. One of the main factors in the design of lanceolate points is...
Article
The Mielke site (33SH26) is a multicomponent locality in western Ohio, in an upland portion of the state that forms a drainage divide between the Great Lakes and Ohio River watersheds. The site possesses a prominent Clovis component that we describe here and assessed via test excavations, geochemical sourcing, technological descriptions, geometric...
Article
The iconic Paleoindian projectile points of the northern portion of the North American Great Plains—Clovis, Folsom, Agate Basin, Plainview (Goshen), Hell Gap, Alberta, Scottsbluff, and Eden—span nearly 4,000 radiocarbon years. Here, we apply recent findings from experimental archaeology to a database of 343 Paleoindian points to better understand h...
Article
Experimental archaeology continues to mature methodologically and theoretically. Around the world, practitioners are increasingly using modern materials that would have been unavailable to prehistoric people in archaeological experiments. The use of a modern material substitute can offer several benefits to experimental method, design, control, rep...
Article
Stone that fractured conchoidally was an important resource for prehistoric hunter‐gatherers. In recent years, archaeologists have come to realize that rather than defining stone “quality” simply and implicitly as “high” or “low,” a stone's quality can be best defined in several different explicit and often quantitative ways involving production, f...
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Full-text available
The discovery and development of metal as a tool medium is a topic of global interest. A fundamental research goal involves establishing the timing of human experimentation with naturally occurring copper ore, which is commonly associated with sedentary, agrarian-based societies. However, in North America, there is well-documented millennia-scale e...
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Full-text available
This study is an experimental assessment of Clovis knife use. This work is the third contribution in a series of experiments aimed at shedding light on the functional performance of distinct Clovis “point” forms. Here, we used seven replica Clovis point forms, representing the average and extremes of observed Clovis form, in two cutting tasks: rope...
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Seeman, Morris, and Summers misrepresent or misunderstand the arguments we have made, as well as their own previous work. Here, we correct these inaccuracies. We also reiterate our support for hypothesis-driven and evidence-based research.
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Clovis fluted points are deemed efficient weapon tips for hunting large game, including Pleistocene proboscideans. However, experimental and archaeological studies cast doubt on their effectiveness as hunting weapons. Owing to the broad and thick tip geometry of Clovis points, their penetration depth into a carcass would have been relatively limite...
Article
Everhart and Biehl's research, discussed within, questions our conclusions regarding a ceramic figurine allegedly from Hopeton Earthworks. They conclude that the figurine is culturally Hopewell and that its provenience is the Hopewell Mound Group. Here, we demonstrate that there is no verified provenience for the figurine and no evidence for validl...
Article
The Nelson stone tool cache was discovered in 2008 in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The cache does not include any diagnostic materials, and independent age control is unavailable. Although aspects of its 164 bifaces are suggestive of a Clovis affiliation – including the occasional occurrence of unmistakable flute scars – nearly all are in the early- to mid-...
Article
This study presents the results of an experimental assessment of Clovis projectile durability, or the ability of Clovis point forms and their hafts to withstand impact damage. This work is the second contribution in a series of experimental studies aimed at shedding light on the functional performance of distinct Clovis point forms. For this experi...
Article
Archaeological evidence shows that Neo-Assyrian soldiers used multiple arrowhead styles in their weapons arsenal. Indeed, finds from the site of Ziyaret Tepe, located in southeastern Turkey, show that both bilobate and trilobate arrowheads were found in association. Of interest to this study are the factors promoting the invention and perseverance...
Article
Full-text available
The copper-using cultures of North America’s Archaic Period (10,000–3000 BP) have long been an archaeological enigma. For millennia, Middle and Late Archaic hunter-gatherers (8000–3000 BP) around the Upper Great Lakes region made utilitarian implements out of copper, only for these items to decline in prominence and frequency as populations grew an...
Article
The Antelope Springs Folsom locality is located near Trout Creek Pass, which connects South Park, a high elevation basin in the Rocky Mountains, with the headwaters region of the Arkansas River. The pass is also the source of an eponymous jasper that dominates the small, surface collection of Folsom points, preforms, tools, and debitage we report o...
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Full-text available
The experimental assessment of prehistoric stone-tipped projectile weapons is a productive research area in experimental archaeology. The measurement of projectile velocity in these experiments is vital for establishing validity, ensuring control, and facilitating data analysis. Many studies have made use of the chronograph to measure stone-tipped...
Article
In 2011, the University of Toledo, Ohio, transferred five Clovis fluted points to the Department of Archaeology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for permanent curation. Here, following several similar previous efforts, we describe these five Late Pleistocene artifacts with technological descriptions, illustrations, morphometrics, and micr...
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Full-text available
In Late Pleistocene North America colonizing hunter-gatherers knapped and used Clovis fluted projectile points. During their expansion the size and shape of Clovis points changed significantly. Archaeologists know that cultural drift contributed to this variation, but is it possible that this single source could alone generate so much variation so...
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Full-text available
Endscrapers, the most abundant tool class at Eastern North American Paleoindian sites, are flaked stone specimens predominately used for scraping hides. They are found broken in high frequencies at these sites, a pattern that has been attributed to use. However, previous experimental and ethnographic research on endscrapers suggests that they are d...
Article
Why, despite over 30,000 years of ceramic technology and tool diversity documented in the archaeological record – including examples of knapped ceramic scraping tools – was the ceramic arrowhead never invented? Here, we first review the use of ceramic projectile technology and tool use in the archaeological record. Then, via controlled ballistics t...
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Before Europeans arrived to Eastern North America, prehistoric, indigenous peoples experienced a number of changes that culminated in the development of sedentary, maize agricultural lifeways of varying complexity. Inherent to these lifeways were several triggers of social stress including population nucleation and increase, intergroup conflict (wa...
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Despite decades of study of post-depositional surface modification by lithic use-wear analysts, the impact of heat remains underexplored. In this paper, we present the results of an experiment designed to test the effects of heat on chert tools with well-developed wood polish. We placed 50 flakes at varying positions in and around a wood fueled hea...
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Full-text available
Archaeologists recognize countless styles of flaked stone projectile points in the archaeological record, but few are as wellrecognized as the Clovis fluted projectile point. This specimen has a number of interesting morphological and technologicalfeatures, but one prominent question of its functional morphology involves the lateral edges of the pr...
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The ethnographic account of an Inuit man manufacturing a knife from his own frozen feces to butcher and disarticulate a dog has permeated both the academic literature and popular culture. To evaluate the validity of this claim, we tested the basis of that account via experimental archaeology. Our experiments assessed the functionality of knives mad...
Article
Temper is an additive incorporated into clay during the formation of a ceramic vessel, and may consist of various materials. In a number of previous experiments over the past several decades, archaeologists have experimentally demonstrated that tempers used by prehistoric craftspeople would have imparted important post-firing use-life properties to...
Article
Archaeologists have attributed the decline of North American utilitarian copper tools to changes in demography and social complexity during the Archaic to Woodland transition, ca. 3000 B.P. However, not all utilitarian copper tools disappeared: the copper awl persisted. Given that the copper tool types that disappeared, such as projectile points an...
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Full-text available
One of the most fundamental questions archeologists face is whether some form or expression of material culture appears at a specific geo-temporal position in the archeological record as a result of invention or diffusion. As one of the most common archeological phenomena, ceramic technology at different times and places was either invented by, or...
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Full-text available
The Cerutti Mastodon site and experimental archaeology's quiet coming of age - Volume 93 Issue 369 - Metin I. Eren, Michelle R. Bebber
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Most prehistoric societies that experimented with copper as a tool raw material eventually abandoned stone as their primary medium for tool making. However, after thousands of years of experimentation with this metal, North American hunter-gatherers abandoned it and returned to the exclusive use of stone. Why? We experimentally confirmed that repli...
Article
Stone was a critical resource for prehistoric hunter-gatherers. Archaeologists, therefore, have long argued that these groups would actively have sought out stone of 'high quality'. Although the defining of quality can be a complicated endeavour, researchers in recent years have suggested that stone with fewer impurities would be preferred for tool...
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Full-text available
Prehistoric humans occupied cold environments for more than one million years without the controlled use of fire. Processing frozen meat may have been a regular occurrence. In order to explore whether this behavior is present in the archaeological record, archaeologists must first understand whether the butchery of frozen meat leaves diagnostic tra...
Article
North America's Old Copper Complex (4000-1000 B.C.) is a unique event in archaeologists' global understanding of prehistoric metallurgic evolution. For millennia, Middle and Late Archaic hunter-gatherers around the North American Upper Great Lakes region regularly made utilitarian implements out of copper, only for these items to decline in promine...
Article
Five flaked stone artifacts from the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene periods of North America were discovered by a collector in Christian County, Kentucky. These artifacts include a Clovis projectile point, a Cumberland preform, a biface, a prismatic blade core, and a St. Charles projectile point base. All specimens were made from material macr...
Article
During a reorganization of the collections at Kent State University (KSU), a fired-clay human figurine was discovered. Beyond the fact that KSU obtained the specimen from a collector, and the alleged origin was the Ohio Hopewell site of Hopeton Earthworks, information on the specimen’s provenience and chain of custody was lacking or ambiguous. To d...
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During the Pleistocene Peopling of North America, the use of stone outcrops for forager gatherings would have provided Clovis colonizing hunter-gatherers with several advantages beyond that of toolstone procurement. Stone outcrops would have been predictable and immovable places on an emerging map of a landscape for a thinly scattered colonizing po...
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Purpose This study was designed to assess the mechanical properties of two calcium carbonate tempers, limestone and burnt shell. These tempers have been previously compared, in separate studies, to silicate-based grit or sand temper and, relative to the latter, are assumed to possess similar mechanical properties. However, their simultaneous use at...
Data
Instron value generated for each sample: Peak load, modulus of rupture, and modulus of elasticity. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
During a reorganization of the collections at Kent State University (KSU), a fired-clay human figurine was discovered. Beyond the fact that KSU obtained the specimen from a collector, and the alleged origin was the Ohio Hopewell site of Hopeton Earthworks, information on the specimen’s provenience and chain of custody was lacking or ambiguous. To d...
Article
Full-text available
The primary aim of this paper is to relate the results of a test conducted by the authors designed to evaluate an idea proposed by Alexander (2008). He suggested creating facsimiles of archaeological artifacts and embedding them with tracking devices such as Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID). The duplicates would then be stolen or other...

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