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Fire-Cracked Rocks At Alm Shelter (48BH3457): An Experimental Study

Kelley, Erin R.
Fire-cracked rocks are a common but rarely analyzed feature of archaeological sites. These stones can fracture due to use as hearth stones, use in “stone-boiling,” or through natural stone decay processes. Several concentrated collections of fire-cracked rocks (FCR) were uncovered at Alm Shelter (48BH3457), a well-stratified rock-shelter in northern Wyoming. Knowing what caused the fractures of these stones helps to understand how use of the site might have changed over time. To help determine potential use at Alm, two tests were conducted, stone boiling and heating as hearth stones, to see if the archaeological features could be replicated. These experiments were inconclusive. The patterns analyzed in these tests were closest to those of hearth stones, but the characteristics of the archaeological specimens may have been produced largely through natural decay.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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Fire-cracked rocks,heat-altered rocks,human behavior,experimental archaeology
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