The consort pebble chert quarry site (EkOr-8) and the role of chert pebbles in pre-contact sites on the Canadian plains
Steuber, Karin Ingrid
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The Consort Pebble Chert Quarry site (EkOr-8) is a Pre-Contact quarry site located south of the Village of Consort, Alberta. Despite knowledge of the site's existence by local area farmers, it was only in 1999 that it was first recorded as an archaeological site. It is described as a large area dominated by the presence of marked depressions that vary in size from less than a metre in depth and diameter to well over three metres in depth and diameter as well as an abundance of chert pebbles on the ground surface. Originally believed to be an example of meteorite impacts, the site was explored by geologists from the University of Calgary. Further visits by provincial archaeologists resulted in numerous theories as to the cause of the depression features and the purpose of the site. No archaeological investigation was undertaken prior to the summer of 2006.No diagnostic artifacts were recovered from within the site area; however, a possible temporal indicator to site usage may be indicated based on the discovery of a Duncan projectile point in a site immediately to the south of the Consort Pebble Chert Quarry. An abundance of lithic artifacts were uncovered as results of the shovel test program undertaken by the author during the summer of 2006. The majority of these lithic artifacts were derived from the abundant lithic material within the site area known as pebble chert. No other non-lithic artifacts were found during the course of this excavation. Shovel tests were used to provide an indication of the subsurface stratigraphy at the site. No evidence of cultural strata was found and the subsurface deposits present reflect a history of glacial landscapes. A number of glacial phenomena are the likely causes of the depression features. The presence of pebble chert on the ground surface; however, did make this area an attractive location for collecting unmodified lithic material in order to fashion stone tools. The existence of numerous artifacts made from pebble chert at the site indicates that past cultural groups had visited and collected from the area. An overview of archaeological sites on the Canadian Plains demonstrates that pebble chert is a valuable lithic material that was used in a wide variety of archaeological sites throughout the Pre-Contact era.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)