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QUINCE SITE

A deeply stratified prehistoric archaeological site, the Quince Site lies near on McGee Creek in the Ouachita Mountains physiographic province of southeastern Oklahoma. Archaeologists investigated the site in 1982 and 1983 prior to the construction of McGee Creek Reservoir.

Alluvial deposits along McGee Creek have more than nine feet of archaeological deposits that date from circa 8500 B.C. to about A.D. 300. The Quince Site is best known for its Late Paleoindian (circa 8500-7500 B.C.) Dalton Complex occupations, found beginning about 3.5 feet below the modem ground surface, but the site also has substantial Middle Archaic (circa 5000-4000 B.C.), Late Archaic (circa 1000 B.C.-A.D. 1), and Woodland (circa A.D. 200 to 400) occupations in the upper alluvial deposits.

The Late Paleoindian occupations represent a series of buried Dalton campsites with rock hearths and with stone tools and debris clusters adjacent to the hearths. Found in these early assemblages were 147 stone tools, 29 cores, and 6,800 pieces of lithic debris. These remains have provided unique information on the use of the Ouachita Mountains by Paleoindian groups when the area was a cool, grass-herb prairie.

The tool kit, dominated by hunting and scraping implements, included thirty-one projectile points and fragments, along with many end and side scrapers for working hides. A single adze and a small bifacial "Quince scraper" tool form found in three of the different campsites point to woodworking activities. Ground stone metates are not common, but their presence indicates that plant foods were processed at the site. The tool kit at the Quince Site appears to represent evidence for a major focus on the hunting and processing of game animals. Also represented are stone tool production and refurbishing activities, mainly using local Ouachita Mountains cherts and fine-grained quartzite raw materials.

SEE ALSO: PALEOENVIRONMENT, PRECONTACT HUNTING PATTERNS, PREHISTORIC NATIVE PEOPLES.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Neal H. Lopinot, Jack H. Ray, and Michael D. Conner, eds., The 1997 Excavations at the Big Eddy Site (23CE426) in Southwest Missouri, Special Publication No. 2 (Springfield: Center for Archaeological Research, Southwest Missouri State University, 1998). Timothy K. Perttula, Excavations at the Quince Site (34AT134), Atoka County, Oklahoma, Volume 5, Part 2 of the McGee Creek Archaeological Project Reports (Denton: Institute of Applied Sciences, University of North Texas, 1994). Don G. Wyckoff, "Southern Plains Folsom Lithic Technology: A View from the Edge," in Folsom Lithic Technology: Explorations in Structure and Variation, ed. Daniel S. Amick, Archaeological Series 12 (Ann Arbor, Mich.: International Monographs in Prehistory, 1999).

Timothy K. Perttula

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