Working with Wilmsen: Paleoindian end scraper design and use at nobles pond

Mark F. Seeman, Thomas J. Loebel, Aaron Comstock, Garry L. Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study is an investigation of tool design and the organization of work. Here we further test Wilmsen's (1970) conclusion that early Paleoindian tools-specifically, hafted end scrapers-were redesigned to facilitate the processing of a broader range of resources as colonizing populations moved into the forested environments of eastern North America from the west. We use a large sample from the Nobles Pond site, morphometic variables, and high-powered microwear to eval-uate the effects of design and reduction as they bear on this generalization. Results do not support Wilmsen's model, and, more generally, we conclude that an understanding of form and function in reductive technologies comes not only from an appreciation of the planned, stage-like change that is inherent in the design of reliable tools, but also from a consideration of the many contingencies and particular work situations that arise in the lives of mobile foragers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-432
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


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