Fire-Cracked Rock Composition and Distribution in Palisades-Dows State Preserve, Linn County, Iowa

April 29th, 2006

Palisades-Dows State Preserve was excavated by students at Cornell College and has produced sizeable lithic and ceramic assemblages. An in-depth analysis of the composition and distribution of the fire-cracked rock excavated at the site shows a relatively high amount of dolomite, gabbro, and chert and a relatively low amount of dolostone or limestone. Comparisons of published geological surveys show that the distributions of fire-cracked rock found on the preserve are significantly different than the natural gravel distributions of the nearby Cedar River. This observation suggests that these rocks were preferentially selected over other rock types. The reason for this has yet to be ascertained with any great certainty, though color, texture, hardness and tool manufacture may have something to do with it.

Julia Clark, ’06 Glen, MT
Majors: History, Sociology and Anthropology

Sponsor: Paul Garvin

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