UofM Professors Uncover Possible Ice Age "Social Networks" With Park Service Grant

November 2, 2015 - Ancient Ice Age American artifacts shed light on how people may have lived 10,000 years ago. University of Memphis professors Ryan Parish, David Dye and Ying Sing Li used funding from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), a program of the National Park Service, to analyze stone spear points from central Tennessee. The goal was to understand how people used stone resources and adapted to the warming climate at the end of the last Ice Age.

The research team continues to develop new technologies that can identify where Native Americans got their stone resources on the landscape. The current study shows that three groups of hunter-gatherers from southern Illinois, northern Alabama and central Tennessee congregated at camp sites along the Tennessee River near modern-day Savannah, Tenn. The periodic assembling of dispersed groups would have been important as the exchange of information regarding ever-shifting resources minimized risk. The spectroscopy techniques used in the study are non-destructive and provided a method to source the stone used to manufacture the spear points back to where the material outcrops, allowing the researchers to track their movements.

Additional information about the funding program is available at ncptt.nps.gov/.

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Contact: Gabrielle Maxey