Hot Rocks: Fractures in Methodological Analysis in the Pacific Northwest

Primary author: Kate Shantry
Faculty sponsor: Colin Grier

Primary college/unit: Arts and Sciences
Campus: Pullman


Heating stones, or hot rocks, are one of the most common artifact types found at archaeological sites. Ancestral people in traditional cultures heated rocks as an essential tool throughout time. This study is intended to help field archaeologists differentiate slow-cooled versus fast-cooled culturally-heated rocks. In the Pacific Northwest, researchers can use this data to consider behavior related to boiling stone technology in tightly coiled baskets and bentwood boxes. This work is designed to create criteria that can be used for identifying boiling stones with low-magnification in the field. My methods use macro and microscopic analyses of experimentally boiled rocks to create criteria to classify certain heated rocks as boiling stones, one of the most common cooking methods used on the Northwest Coast.