Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Campfires in context hunter-gatherer fire technology and the archaeological record of the South High Plains, USA
Author: Backhouse, Paul Nathan
ISNI:       0000 0000 4750 4100
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The need to control and manipulate fire appears to be a fundamental human technology, as important today as it once was to our ancestors. It is therefore unsurprising that evidence for the human use of fire in discrete facilities, commonly known as campfires and hearths, is an often observed and necessarily recorded phenomenon during archaeological research. Despite the apparent ubiquity of such features, only limited research has been devoted to understanding the anthropogenic activities that generated them. In response, a research programme is initiated which focuses on the archaeological record of the small fire features or localised thermal features (LTFs) built by the prehistoric hunter-gatherer groups living on and around the Southern High Plains of North America. The aim of the programme is to examine the extent to which variation in the construction, use, and archaeological expression of these features is valuable for understanding the subsistence activities of human groups in the past. Four analytical strands of research (a taxonomic key, ethnographic research, experimental research, and fieldwork) are utilised to explore this topic. The generation of a taxonomic key results in a common vocabulary by which previously recorded and newly identified LTFs are described and assessed; ethnographic research underscores the range in technologies that can be represented by LTFs; specific features types are recorded by detailed fieldwork; and the physical processes by which these signatures were created is examined by experimental research. The results demonstrate that variation in the archaeological record of these features is easily identifiable and extremely useful for understanding hunter-gatherer technology, subsistence, and demography. A significant conclusion, based on preliminary application to a second geographic area, shows the potential for similar projects to be usefully applied to other regions in which hunter-gatherer populations were once extant.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archaeology