Kevin Gubbels

Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Lara Homsey-Messer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sarah Neusius, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Phillip Neusius, Ph.D.


Experimental fire-cracked rock research has received increased attention as a valuable tool for investigating cooking practices and cook-stone technology. The majority of these studies have focused on the Northwest and Southwest cultural regions where FCR is one of the most ubiquitous artifacts recovered at archaeological sites. For the Northeast and Eastern Woodland regions, far fewer studies have been conducted and cook-stone technology remains understudied. An experiment was conducted to investigate cook-stone technology from the Johnston site, a multicomponent Monongahela village in southwestern Pennsylvania. Current evidence suggests that the Monongahela used hot stones to cook in earth ovens or roasting pits. This research tested whether evidence of stone-boiling at the Johnston site could be determined by looking at the physical changes that occur in experimentally replicated stone-boiled FCR. The results show promise for interpreting evidence of stone-boiling through FCR morphology, but the methodological limitations of the experiment warrant future research.