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Amanda Castaneda


amanda castaneda working in the lower pecos region

           Bedrock features are a common archaeological occurrence in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas. The term bedrock features include “slicked” areas, shallow grinding basins, deep mortar holes, and everything else in between. Even though relatively common, bedrock features, and ground stone in general, have received very little directed research in the region. Amanda’s thesis research focuses on recording bedrock feature attributes and localities at 12 sites in order to gain a better understanding about the roles they played in the hunter-gatherer societies of the Lower Pecos. To achieve this goal, she is developing a typology of various bedrock features, analyzing their use wear and morphology, and comparing the data regionally across multiple sites.

            The objectives of this thesis project are multi-faceted. First, structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry will be used to create 3D models allowing for highly accurate measurements to be captured (see CAS blog post for more information about SfM). Second, these metric data will be considered in tandem with macroscopic use wear attributes, ethnographic information, and experimental data in order to make hypotheses about the foods processed and corresponding processing movements. In addition, experimental residue samples have been collected to determine if any chemical signatures are preserved to provide information about specific items processed. Finally, a region-wide perspective will be employed by comparing bedrock features across the Lower Pecos landscape through statistical and GIS analyses. These analyses will create a substantial base-line dataset allowing for recognition of the economic and social roles bedrock features played for Lower Pecos hunter-gatherers.

3-d photogrammetry rendering of bedrock features in Skiles Cave