Climate and Conservation: Obsidian Debitage and Climate in the Big Belt Mountains
The Sundog Site in the Northern Big Belt Mountains of Montana is a site of particular interest due to its artifact abundance and preservation of paleoclimate indicators. It has been utilized to examine aspects of behavioral ecology in humans regarding climate change and paleoclimatic drought. The goal of this research paper is to analyze the data collected from the Carroll College 2017 Summer Archaeology field school in which seven valiant undergraduate students braved unpredictable weather, dangerous wildlife, and the possibility of haunting dreams. The specific purpose of this research paper is to uncover evidence for the hypothesis that Native Americans at this location conserved their obsidian lithic material during times of drought. In this research a literature review is presented to establish a precedent that humans use lithic material in an efficient and deliberate manner, a methods section pertaining to the process of this examination, and a section that presents the findings. This is an important topic of investigation because it could expand the knowledge on behavior of the people that inhabited this location and how they were able to adapt to a dramatically changing environment though behavioral change.