Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Douglas Bamforth

Second Advisor

Catherine Cameron

Third Advisor

Gerardo Gutierrez


This thesis is primarily focused on the evaluation of evidence for ceramic production, specifically open pit firing, at the King site (25DW166), a Central Plains tradition site located near the Pine Ridge in Dawes County, northwestern Nebraska. A tandem goal of this work is to better understand the nature of the occupation of the King site. Several different spatial analyses are employed to provide a general understanding of the function of the site, range of activities performed at the site, the duration of the occupation and, subsequently, the context of and evidence for ceramic firing activities. These spatial analyses are also applied to data generated by an analysis of the ceramics from the site in order to evaluate the strength of the evidence for ceramic firing activities.

The results obtained from this study identify the King site as an extended, probably seasonal, Itskari phase occupation. Several refuse pits and activity areas are identified at the site and the evidence suggests that some of the activities conducted by the inhabitants included bone grease processing and ceramic manufacturing. As ceramic manufacturing has been infrequently identified in the Central Plains, the King site and the methods used to evaluate this evidence, provide an example for how this form of craft-production, which is often difficult to see and/or conflated with other activities, might be approached at other sites.