Eagle Hill: A Late Quaternary Upland Site in Western Louisiana
The Eagle Hill II site (16 SA 50) is located in a rolling upland area of western Louisiana known as Peason Ridge. Because of its location in a saddle, the locale accumulated colluvial sediments during certain intervals of the late Quaternary; in addition, it served as a habitation area for prehistoric groups. Sediments were preserved from the early and late Holocene, apparently reflecting the relatively cooler and moister conditions of those periods that were conducive to erosion-preventing vegetation. The site was excavated in a manner to provide both vertical and horizontal information on site occupation at relatively high resolution. A sampling design was used to target critical occupation levels for careful excavation of occupational floors. Floors were stratified based on analysis of lithics from test excavations. On targeted occupation floors, artifacts were provenienced to the centimeter. A battery of information was collected on the sediments to allow definition of fire hearths, activity areas, etc. The early Holocene levels (10,000-7000 B.P.) began with a Folsom-related occupation and ended with an Early Archaic technology. Analysis of lithic wear patterns, tool morphology, and fire-related attributes clearly defined activity areas. Similar success was achieved with the late Holocene (A.D. 6000-present) ceramic levels. X-ray fluorescence and neutron activation were used to examine lithic source areas and mineral content of the soils in the occupation floors. The rhythm of occupation at Eagle Hill II can be explained as a product of demographic fluctuations in the adjacent Sabine and Red River valleys, response of those populations to Holocene climatic change, and response of sediments and erosion to the same climatic variations.