Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Anthropology



Major Advisor

Mark G. Plew, Ph.D.


Pei-Lin Yu, Ph.D.


Samantha H. Blatt, Ph.D.


During the past two decades North American archaeologists have attempted to document levels of prehistoric aboriginal mobility. Robert Kelly has developed a fourteen variable index for assessing mobility based upon the technological organization of chipped stone assemblages. Each variable has a binary outcome of high or low residential mobility reflecting Lewis Binford’s expedient versus curated technologies. Kelly’s index has been used to individually evaluate levels mobility of a number of Late Holocene age sites in southwestern Idaho. This thesis reanalyzes seven previously assessed sites as well as sixteen additional Late Holocene/Archaic open site assemblages along the Snake River in southern Idaho using Kelly’s index of residential mobility.

A primary objective of this thesis is to re-evaluate the use of Kelly’s index with respect to whether the inclusion of non-chipped stone materials would significantly alter the usefulness of the index. Additional variables evaluated in this thesis included pottery, groundstone, the presence of fire hearths, and storage features, all of which have been suggested as indicators of mobility. Following the assessment using Kelly’s mobility index, 22 of 23 assemblages reflect high levels of residential mobility. Kendall’s Tau correlations for the new variables showed that pottery and storage were significantly correlated with pottery, groundstone, the presence of fire hearths, and evidence of storage. A set of linear regression analyses assessing the relationship between assemblage size and diversity resulted in a low slope which suggests a generalized toolkit for the sampled sites. The analysis suggests Kelly’s index alone is not the most efficient means to assess mobility at the level of an individual site. Rather, the index and additional variables should be used as guidelines to assess mobility on a regional scale.