Jan F. Simek's research while affiliated with University of Tennessee and other places

Publications (45)

Article
Since 1979, when the first cave art was documented in North America, dozens of other examples have come to light. Among these, 19 th Unnamed Cave in Alabama contains hundreds of pre-contact Native American mud glyph drawings. In 2017, 3D modelling of the glyphs was initiated, ultimately enabling digital manipulation of the chamber space and reveali...
Article
Despite new arguments by Tankersley and Weeks that we misinterpreted petroglyph engravings and ignored site formation processes at the Red Bird River Shelter in Kentucky (15CY52), we remain convinced that there is no evidence for Cherokee Syllabary writing at the site. The petroglyphs are clearly not symbols present in any version of the Cherokee S...
Article
Inside Manitou Cave in modern Alabama, nineteenth-century Cherokees carried out sacred ceremonies, recording their activities on the walls using Cherokee syllabary, a system invented in nearby Willstown by Cherokee scholar Sequoyah. Through collaboration between modern Cherokee scholars and Euro-American archaeologists, the authors report and inter...
Article
This article reanalyzes petroglyphs from the Red Bird River Shelter (15CY52), a small sandstone shelter in Kentucky. In 2009–2013, it was claimed that some of the carvings at the site represented the earliest known examples of Cherokee Syllabary writing, dating to the first two decades of the nineteenth century. It was also suggested that Sequoyah,...
Article
Painted Bluff in northern Alabama is one of the richest and most elaborate open-air rock art localities in the Eastern Woodlands, rivaling some of the Southeast’s dark zone cave art sites discovered over the past several decades. Known for more than a century, the site has never seen detailed documentation until now. Painted Bluff contains motifs s...
Article
Full-text available
Dunbar Cave in Montgomery County, Tennessee has been used by people in a great variety of ways. This paper reports on prehistoric uses of the cave, which were quite varied. The vestibule of the cave, which is today protected by a concrete slab installed during the cave's days as an historic tourist showplace, saw extensive and very long term occupa...
Article
This chapter is designed to serve as an introduction to a prehistoric cave-art tradition that has only come to light over the past two decades in the Appalachian Plateau uplands of Southeastern North America. First identified by archaeologists in 1980, this cave art represents a widespread, complex, and long-standing aspect of indigenous prehistori...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Located in the Illinois Ozarks, the Painting Site consists of a series of Mississippian-age pictographs situated high along a bluff escarpment overlooking the Mississippi River floodplain. The site represents the only known survivor of a series of such bluff-side pictograph sites (including the famous Piasa Bird or Alton Piasa) that once existed in...
Article
From early in the history of European settlement in the Southeast, it was observed that the region's caves and karsts were used by the ancients as places for interring the dead. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, discoveries in the deep caves of Tennessee and Kentucky caught the imagination of the American intelligentsia. Sites in Kentucky and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A complex, rich and diverse cave art assemblage from a small, dry cave in south-central Tennessee is reported. This assemblage has a certain subject matter that suggests a prehistoric, and thus Native American, origin, but its context may indicate an early historic age. The implications of each of these possible ages are important, and how to place...
Poster
Full-text available
Prior to the development of modern gunpowder technologies in the early 20th century, the U. S. relied heavily on the importation of saltpeter, a vital ingredient in gunpowder, from British India. However, fluctuations in the overseas market, due in part to European military campaigns, the often unstable relations among the United States and Europea...
Article
Full-text available
In 2007, a group of avocational cavers saw engravings on the walls of a cave in the eastern Florida Panhandle. They contacted the Cave Archaeology Research Team from the University of Tennessee, who visited the site and documented eight petroglyphs on the walls of the cave. Given the subject matter of the petroglyphs, artifacts found on the floor,...
Article
Full-text available
This study presents the results of archaeological samples submitted for dating at the recently constructed University of Tennessee Center for Archaeometry and Geochronology (UTCAG) radiocarbon dating laboratory (Knoxville, Tennessee, USA). The samples selected for this initial study were obtained from excavations at the McCrosky Island site (40SV43...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Pigment samples from an open-air pictograph site in northern Alabama were studied by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Iron oxides/hydroxides were determined to be the primary color constituents in the prehistoric paint recipe. In addition, X-ray diffraction analysi...
Article
Very few prehistoric cave deposits in Western Europe contain visible hearth remains, even though there is abundant evidence of fire use by cave inhabitants. Grotte XVI (Dordogne, France) is exceptional in this respect, in that it contains a most conspicuous layer (Couche C) characterized by a series of brightly coloured bedded sediments. The format...
Article
Full-text available
The Magdalenian of southwestern France has long been renowned for the frequency with which associated faunal assemblages are dominated by reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). The site of Grotte XVI (Dordogne, southwestern France) is no exception: 94% of the Magdalenian ungulate assemblage at this site is provided by reindeer. However, this figure represen...
Article
Research on dark zone cave art in the Southeast has confronted archaeologists with a variety of technical and interpretive problems unique to the cave environment and to the subject matter encountered in the art itself. Six areas of concern treat solutions to challenges raised by cave dark zones as contexts for research as well as issues in the stu...
Article
This paper describes a new mud glyph cave art site recently discovered in northern Alabama. 19th Unnamed Cave contains a rich and varied art assemblage conditioned in its form and location by aspects of the natural cave environment. This is the southernmost manifestation of what we now recognize as a widespread prehistoric artistic tradition. 19th...
Article
A remarkably well preserved combustion area was found out in a Mousterian context at Grotte XVI, Cénac et St-Julien, Dordogne, France. TL-dating of heated sandy sediments which were collected in this structure, was carried out. On the methodological side, our principle concern is the datability of the heated sediment samples in reason of possibili...
Article
In the deep recesses of "3rd Unnamed Cave," a karst cavern in Tennessee, evidence for an ancient association between dark zone cave art and chert mining has recently been documented. The art comprises petroglyphs on the ceiling of a chamber more than 1 km from the cave entrance. On the floor below the art, natural sediments were excavated prehistor...
Article
This study presents the results of the first recent analysis of stone tool assemblages from Krapina (Croatia). All assemblages are Pleistocene in age and many are associated with human remains, the Krapina Neandertals. The assemblages are described typologically and technologically, and subtle chronological changes in raw material selection and tec...
Article
We report on a recently discovered, dark zone, mud glyph cave art site in East Tennessee. The cave vestibule contains intact sedimentary deposits preserving prehistoric archaeological layers in undisturbed stratigraphic position; at least two hearth features are present. Artifacts from the vestibule indicate occupation from Late Woodland through La...
Article
The well-protected walls and floors of deep caves are some of the few places where human markings on soft materials — sands, muds, clays — survive archaeologically. Since 1979, a special group of caves in the eastern United States has been reported with ‘mud-glyphs’ or prehistoric drawings etched in wet mud. Here, the seventh of these mud-glyph cav...
Article
Full-text available
Despite their evident utility in archaeological analysis, microartifacts (those artifacts smaller than 2 mm) have, as a class, been used only sparingly by archaeologists and then only as if they were larger artifacts. This article explores the variable information microartifacts contain, using a case study from the Loy Site, a Mississippian village...
Article
Theoretical consideration of the formation of plowzone archaeological deposits implicates artifact size as an important and heretofore under-used source of information. Modality in size distributions of degradable artifacts, such as low-fired pottery and bone, indicates the addition of stratigraphically deeper materials to a plowzone assemblage. Th...
Chapter
Since the early 1970s the analysis of the spatial distribution of artifacts has been an important research concern for many archaeologists. In particular, techniques for mathematically defining spatial patterns within archaeological sites have received much attention. Methods employed to investigate spatial patterning were selected because of a pri...
Article
We attempt to show how an understanding of multiple site formation processes, acting to produce spatial patterns within a site, can be obtained by using several analytic techniques applied together in heuristic fashion. Both quantitative and nonquantitative means for investigating spatial processes will be applied in a case study of complex cave de...
Chapter
The 1980s have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of published prehistories proporting to explain events that occurred in Europe during the Upper Pleistocene. These prehistories usually comprise models for how the Paleolithic record was formed. In constructing these models, several theoretical positions have been invoked to provide interpr...
Article
Traditional approaches to intrasite spatial analysis in archaeology have concentrated on identifying associations among classes of artifacts over a site surface. This focus has tended to ignore the possible effects of contextual constraints on inter-class relationships, for example the “gravity effects” of hearth features on object deposition. Cons...
Article
Lewis R. Binford, with editorial collaboration by John F. Cherry and Robin Torrence. In Pursuit of the Past: Decoding the Archaeological Record. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1983. 256 pp. Foreword by Colin Renfrew, Acknowledgements, Preface, Notes, Bibliography, Index, 147 Illustrations. $18.50.
Article
A pattern recognition approach to spatial analysis is applied to artifact distributions from the Magdalenian site of Pincevent, Section 36. Patterning is investigated using a κ-means cluster analysis that permits iterative mapping of artifact distributions at several scales of spatial complexity. Multiple scales of patterning are recognized in the...
Article
Archaeologists often wish to compare observed frequency distributions with expectations generated by a model. We describe a technique of partitioning chisquare which yields information about goodness of fit to a model and about homogeneity among populations simultaneously, and which is often superior to other commonly used methods of evaluating fre...

Citations

... Particular to Mona is extraction on soft surfaces which is very different from conventional pecking and grinding of hard rock surfaces. Isolated exploitation of a soft substrate has been reported in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the southeast United States (DuVall, 2010;Guti errez Clavache et al., 2013;Simek and Cressler, 2005), but its abundance on Mona is unprecedented and suggests extraction was both a form of communication technology and a form of pre-Columbian calcium carbonate mining (Fig. 2B). ...
... Thus, caves can be perceived as liminal and cosmological spaces (Prijatelj and Skeates 2019). Entering a cave while penetrating the earth might be conceived as a journey to the underworld, a potent and supernatural place, regarded also as the birthplace of everything, the locale that provides the world with the essentials for existence and well-being (Astor-Aguilera 2010; Carroll et al. 2019;Clottes and Lewis-Williams 1998;Gonzalez-Garcia 2017;Houston 2014, pp. 27-40, 75). ...
... At the ethnographic level, some groups of hunter-gatherers build hearths, not only at base camps, but also in places that are only occupied briefly (Binford 1978;Yellen 1977). For this reason, another important approach involves the study of combustion structures to identify the timing of the prehistoric settlements (Leierer et al., 2019;Henry, 2012;Mallol et al., 2013;Aldeias et al., 2016;Goldberg et al., 2012;Rigaud et al., 1995;Vallverdú et al., 2012a). ...
... The cavern comprises more than 5km of underground passageways. The entrance faces east at 219m amsl, and is approximately 10m high and 15m wide (Cressler et al. 1999). An intermittent stream flows out of the cave, and the vestibule has been washed clean of sediments by fluvial action emanating from inside the karst. ...
... The K-means algorithm is probably the best known and most widely used for performing cluster analyses (see Whallon 1984;Kintigh 1990;Rigaud and Simek 1991;Wandsnider 1996;Papalas et al. 2003). It is a non-hierarchical method of partitioning data according to an optimization of the set seeking to minimize the differences between the members of a cluster and to maximize the differences between the clusters. ...
... Since then, 89 other pre-Columbian cave art sites have been identified in south-eastern North America. The earliest is nearly 7000 years old, but the majority date from AD 800 to 1600 (Faulkner & Simek 1996;Simek et al. 2012Simek et al. , 2014. South-eastern cave art comprises an ancient and longstanding Native American art practice-the only such cave art tradition known in North America. ...
... K-means clustering is a method of automatic classification which optimally partitions a set of individuals according to one or several variables, into a defined number of classesor groups. Here, we will consider a spatial application of this method, classifying the remains according to their spatial coordinates (Kintigh and Ammerman, 1982;Rigaud and Simek, 1991;Simeck and Larick, 1983;Yvorra, 2003). For a given number of groups, the different partitioning possibilities will be tested by an iterative clustering system around mobile centres. ...
... Cultural remains were assigned ages by comparing their morphologies to published, well-dated cultural materials from other regional excavations (Fig. 5) (Maslowski, 2006;McBride, 2006;Simek and Cressler, 2006). Collectively, the cultural remains reveal that UC14 was utilized in one or more ways from the Late Archaic through the Late Prehistoric (5,000 to 250 calendar years BP), at least occasionally. ...
... First, these examples of inscriptions indicate that caves were seen by Cherokees as spiritually potent places, where wall embellishment was appropriate in the context of ceremonial action. This is precisely how older cave drawings in the American Southeast have been viewed, some of which date back thousands of years and comprise representational and abstract motifs, rather than text (Simek et al. 2013). Manitou Cave shows continuity in how caves were seen and used by Southeastern Native American peoples into the removal period. ...
... Together, the Pech sites contain examples of most of the classic Mousterian "facies", or industrial variants as defined by Bordes (1961) and others (Peyrony, 1925), and thus continue to play a vital role in debates concerning the nature and interpretation of Mousterian assemblage variability (e.g., Mellars, 1965Mellars, , 1969Binford, 1973;Bordes, 1977;Rolland and Dibble, 1990;Delagnes and Rendu, 2011;Discamps et al., 2011). With the advent of new dating techniques over the past several decades, numerical ages have been obtained from a large number of sites in southwest France, including the Pech sites, by a variety of methods (e.g., Vogel and Waterbolk, 1967;Bowman and Sieveking, 1983;Valladas et al., 1986Valladas et al., , 1987Valladas et al., , 1999Valladas et al., , 2003Mellars and Grün, 1991;Falgu eres et al., 1997;Guibert et al., 1997Guibert et al., , 1999Guibert et al., , 2008Lahaye, 2005;Guerin et al., 2012). Given the time-depth represented by the Pech archaeological deposits, which together are comparable to those of the classic, but still undated, reference site of Combe Grenal, and the size and variety of the archaeological assemblages, which together are far larger than those of Combe Grenal (Bordes' Pech IV collection exceeded his Combe Grenal collection [McPherron et al., 2012a]), it is not surprising that some of the earliest numerical ages for the French Mousterian have been obtained at these sites (e.g., Schwarcz and Blackwell, 1983;Grün et al., 1991) or that these sequences are a continuing focus of attention for both archaeologists and geochronologists (e.g., McPherron and Dibble, 2000;McPherron et al., 2001McPherron et al., , 2012bDibble et al., 2005Dibble et al., , 2009Soressi et al., , 2013Texier, 2009;Turq et al., 2011;Richter et al., 2013). ...