Evaluating the Stratigraphic and Chronological Integrity of the Last Supper Cave Deposits


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Publication Date

January 2015


Located in northwestern Nevada, Last Supper Cave was tested in 1968 and fully excavated in 1973 –1974 under the direction of Thomas Layton. The site revealed a long sequence of human occupation, including a Paleoindian component initially dated to ~9,000 – 8,000 radiocarbon years ago (B.P.). In 2008, a hearth from the lowest deposits returned an AMS date of 10,280 ± 40 B.P., suggesting that initial occupation occurred during the latest Pleistocene, over a millennium earlier than initially believed. Here we present the results of further AMS dating of the Last Supper Cave deposits and an analysis of the vertical distribution of time-sensitive projectile points in order to evaluate the site’s stratigraphic integrity. Results indicate that while some portions of the deposits were mixed, others appear to have been relatively intact, and materials recovered from them hold great potential for future research.

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Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, Vol. 35, no. 1 (2015).