Metin I. Eren's research while affiliated with Kent State University and other places

Publications (179)

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Cutting actions were likely an important factor in the emergence and evolution of stone tools. In recent years, experiments have shown many factors can influence the efficiency of cutting behaviors, including tool form, tool material, and tool-user. Here, following other researchers, we test whether the material getting cut influences the efficienc...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Toward the end of the Pleistocene, the world experienced a mass extinction of megafauna. In North America these included its proboscideans—the mammoths and mastodons. Researchers in conservation biology, paleontology, and archaeology have debated the role played by human predation in these extinctions. They point to traces of human butchery, such a...
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Many factors governed the penetration efficacy of prehistoric projectile weaponry. Archaeologists broadly focus their efforts on understanding the effect of stone weapon tips because these specimens are often the only part of the weapon system that survives in the archaeological record. The tip‐cross sectional area (TCSA) and perimeter (TCSP) of st...
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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...
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Calculating the diversity of biological or cultural classes is a fundamental way of describing, analyzing, and understanding the world around us. Understanding archaeological diversity is key to understanding human culture in the past. Archaeologists have long experienced a tenuous relationship with statistics; however, the regular integration of d...
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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...
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Separating two or more aspects of an object via cutting was likely an important factor in the origin and evolution of flaked stone technology. In recent years experiments have demonstrated that several stone tool attributes can influence different kinds of cutting behaviour: slicing, cleaving, scraping, sawing, drilling, piercing and abrading. Here...
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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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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...
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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...
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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...
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The Welling site is a multi-component site located along the Walhonding River in east-central Ohio. Excavations conducted by Kent State University (KSU) in 1960 produced evidence for an early Paleoindian Clovis component, which appeared to be stratigraphically separated from later Holocene occupations. A number of charred wood samples were collecte...
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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...
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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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Linking the stone raw material of a lithic artifact to its original outcrop is an important endeavor that facilitates archaeologists’ understanding of prehistoric mobility, trade, economics, and land use. Based on macroscopic identification, archaeologists’ presume that prehistoric Holocene occupants of the Welling site, Ohio, made use of the local...
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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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Recent field re-investigations at the Paleo Crossing site, Ohio—a site first excavated by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the early 1990s—were aimed at relocating and expanding the original checkerboard of excavation units. It was in these that postmolds were found and inferred to be from a Clovis-age structure. Yet, unexcavated units in...
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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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For over 3 million years hominins held stone-cutting tools in the hand, gripping the portion of tool displaying a sharp cutting edge directly. During the late Middle Pleistocene human populations started to produce hafted composite knives, where the stone element displaying a sharp cutting edge was secured in a handle. Prevailing archaeological lit...
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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...
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We explore and describe the auditory landscape that emerges from stone tool making. Using two trained musicians, we identify the pitches and octaves produced from percussion knapping. We also analyze whether knapping sounds vary by raw material, knapper skill level, or by flake size. Our results show that our chosen stone material types each displa...
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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...
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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-...
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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...
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We previously showed that stone-tool technological attributes thought to be unique to the Clovis period were present in a radiocarbon and OSL dated middle Holocene-age stratum at Goodson Shelter, Oklahoma (Eren et al. 2018a. “Is Clovis Technology Unique to Clovis?” PaleoAmerica 4:202–228). Consequently, we argued that technological attributes alone...
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A variety of flaked stone projectile point attributes can affect impact durability, which is the relationship between projectile impact force and point breakage. We examine the role of isometric scaling – size – on impact durability. Using 30 experimentally knapped points that varied predominately only in size, we conducted a ballistics experiment...
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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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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...
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Archaeological collections are foundational to the discipline. Yet, researchers who study curated assemblages can face challenges. Here, we show how experimental archaeology can play a vital role in the interpretation of old archaeological collections. The Welling site, in Coshocton County, Ohio, is a multicomponent, stratified site with a substant...
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The knapping experiments with Kanzi, a bonobo, are among the most insightful experiments into Oldowan technology ever undertaken. Comparison of his artifacts against archeological material, however, indicated he did not produce Oldowan lithic attributes precisely, prompting suggestions that this indicated cognitive or biomechanical impediments. The...
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Understanding prehistoric projectile weaponry performance is fundamental to unraveling past humans’ survival and the evolution of technology. One important debate involves how deeply stone-tipped projectiles penetrate a target. Theoretically, all things being equal, projectiles with smaller tip cross-sectional geometries should penetrate deeper int...
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The prehistoric production of composite technologies throughout human evolution was facilitated greatly by the use of adhesives. One such technology was projectile weaponry, which used adhesive to attach a stone point to a wooden shaft. Prehistoric projectile weaponry is often studied via experimental archaeology, which recreates ancient technologi...
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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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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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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...
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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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This paper concludes a long-term experimental study to examine the role of bipolar and freehand reduction as strategies for lithic miniaturization on milky quartz and flint. The experiments provide clear quantifiable guidelines for identifying bipolar reduction in archeological assemblages. They suggest that with bipolar reduction—a straightforward...
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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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Intentional heat treating of toolstone has been documented to have begun at least by 70 K BP; however, the advantages of such treatment have been debated for decades. There are two schools of thought with regard to its purpose. One, is that it merely reduces the force required for flake propagation. A second is that it also alters flake morphologic...
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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...
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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...
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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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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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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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Goodson Rockshelter in Oklahoma has provided strong chronometric and typological evidence that early- and middle-stage fluted stone tool bases found there date to the Late Archaic. These results indicate that such specimens are not necessarily diagnostic of the late Pleistocene Clovis culture. Here, we present additional evidence that early- and mi...
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Robert J. Patten passed away suddenly on February 8, 2017. His influence on flintknapping, lithic technology, and archaeology, however, continues on. Here, we review Patten’s life and myriad contributions.
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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...
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Ground stone projectile points can be found throughout the global archaeological record, but why they were selected for by prehistoric foragers has received little attention. Additionally, modern archaeological experiments have increasingly used ground points in lieu of knapped ones. Here, we present an experiment testing whether there is a differe...
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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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Clovis technology is argued to possess distinctive attributes that make a stone tool assemblage recognizable as Clovis, even absent its hallmark fluted projectile points, or radiometric ages that place the assemblage in the late Pleistocene. Excavations at Goodson Shelter in Oklahoma yielded artifacts bearing unmistakable attributes of Clovis bifac...
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Flintknappers must successfully deploy specific physical techniques to make stone artifacts. Somewhat analogous to flintknapping, the successful performance of conjuring tricks also relies on effective deployment of physical actions and techniques to bring about desired outcomes. To prevent spectators detecting the cause–effect relationships betwee...
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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...
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It has long been assumed that Folsom points are more standardized than Clovis points, although an adequate test of this proposition has yet to be undertaken. Here, we address that deficiency by using data from a sample of Folsom and Clovis points recovered from sites across the western United States. We used geometric morphometric techniques to cap...
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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...
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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...
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For decades, archaeologists have wondered whether the Clovis Palaeoindian (c.11 600–10 800 radiocarbon years bp) practice of ‘fluting’, a flake removal technique that creates a distinctive shallow channel extending from the base of the projectile point towards the tip, bestowed a functional advantage over non‐fluted projectile points. Using analyti...
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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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The Mixter site (33-ME-4), Erie County, Ohio, is a multicomponent site first reported in 1967. We re-examined the Mixter site projectile point assemblage to understand which types were present, whether there were Paleoindian points at the site, and whether the projectile points can reveal anything about site use through time. Our assessment reveale...
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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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Nicholas Ashton. Early humans. 2017. London: HarperCollins; 978-0-00-8150341-8 £35. - Volume 92 Issue 362 - Metin I. Eren
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Palaeolithic stone technologies have never been investigated in terms of how sharpness influences their ability to cut. In turn, there is little understanding of how quickly stone cutting edges blunt, how past populations responded to any consequent changes in performance, or how these factors influenced the Palaeolithic archaeological record. Pres...
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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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Diverse disciplines investigate how muscular tissue (i.e. ‘meat’) responds to being cut and deformed, however, large-scale, empirically robust investigations into these matters are often impractical and expensive. Previous research has used clay as an alternative to meat. To establish whether clay is a reliable proxy for meat, we directly compare t...
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Paleo Crossing (33ME274), a Clovis site in Medina County, Northeast Ohio, USA, has played an important role in debates on the Pleistocene Peopling of the Americas given its published, and assumed accurate, age of 10,980 ± 75 BP (12,717–13,020 calibrated BP, median age 12,854 cal BP). However, there are still questions surrounding the radiocarbon ag...