What a week! I am fully enjoying a very slow Sunday after an insanely frantic week. Thankfully the payoff was well worth every minute of stress.
Yesterday was the final day of the first (and hopefully annual) McGill Anthrograd Conference. Myself and two other friends put together a two day event at McGill that brought together the wide range of research that the grad students are conducting. It was a phenomenal success thanks to the many hours of hard work from all of the volunteers. We even had the local archaeology lab band Megalith end the evening last night with an hour and a half show. With so many wonderful volunteers the conference organization was only minimally responsible for the ferocity of this week on my nervous system. Most of the suffering was induced by me also presenting my MA thesis in the first session on Friday evening. But I managed to get my primary analysis done and the results proved to be much more thought provoking than I expected. The project is examining the transition from predominantly chipped stone tool technology to ground and polished antler, bone, and stone tool technology on southwest coast of British Columbia over roughly the past 9000 years. Now the end points of this transition are well established and my initial question was why did this transition happen. But before I could as why did things change I needed to understand the nature of this change through time and space. What I stumbled upon is that very little detailed work had been done on the broader temporal and spatial patterns of the transition and most people conclude/assume that there was a gradual or incremental increase in ground stone technology at the expense of chipped stone technology through time. The result of this observation is my thesis: Is the temporal and spatial distribution of the observed technological change on the southwest coast of British Columbia over the past 9000 years gradual and spatially uniform? Here’s my answer to the temporal component:
What you see here is a ternary plot on which each point is an assemblage and its position represents the proportions of chipped, ground, and faunal tools. If the change through time is gradual or incremental we would expect the gray-scale (which represents the age of an assemblage) to get gradually lighter as it extends out from the bottom left corner. Clearly this is not the case. Once you get more than 10% ground stone there is no discernible pattern through time or by phase. I think we need to reconsider the dynamics between the two endpoints of this transition.