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Archaic Giant’s Grave: Exploring Site Distribution Within a Unique Micro-environment on the Alleghany Plateau, 4000-1500 BC


CRM investigations in southwestern New York State have resulted in the identification of several short-term Late Archaic occupations on and around a glacial landform known as Giant’s Grave. A landscape perspective offers clues as to the nature of this cluster of sites and others like them. Although Giant’s Grave offers a number of subsistence-related opportunities, when the peculiar nature of the landform itself is considered it is apparent that more than availability of resources encouraged occupation here. In particular, glacial kames appear to be sacred places in the landscape. This small area is used as a case study to interpret other such sites in the region. By exploring the consequences of this occupation within the larger regional conception of the Late Archaic, aspects of prehistoric ritual activity can be added to our knowledge of this time period in central and western New York.