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Abstract

Cactus Hill is located in the Virginia Coastal Plain on a terrace above the Nottoway River. The site has a record of occupation that spans the Holocene and also offers evidence of humans late in the Pleistocene before Clovis time. Soil investigations identified several deposit types, and demonstrated that multisequal eolian sands forming the site's primary core are arrayed in spatially and temporally discrete horizons. Resting atop an ancient paleosol, the earliest sand stratum (19,540 ± 70 14C yr B.P.) is marked by a conspicuous but culturally sterile buried surface horizon. Eolian sand above this surface supports another sequum in which Clovis and underlying “Blade” artifacts are associated with a fainter surface horizon and pronounced subsoil lamellae. Early Archaic and successively younger artifacts occur above the Clovis level in a more weakly developed uppermost sequum. This soil and cultural stratigraphy, together with considerations of regional topography, demonstrate that the landscape has evolved incrementally since about the last glacial maximum. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.