Central Plains Prehistory: Holocene Environments and Culture Change in the Republican River Basin

Central Plains Prehistory: Holocene Environments and Culture Change in the Republican River Basin

Central Plains Prehistory: Holocene Environments and Culture Change in the Republican River Basin

Central Plains Prehistory: Holocene Environments and Culture Change in the Republican River Basin

Excerpt

The North American Great Plains have been known to white men for more than 400 years, more precisely, since 1541. From that first bemused glimpse of the seemingly endless grasslands, the countless numbers of wild cattle they supported, and the picturesque dog-nomads who trailed after the herds, the curiosity of the Euro-American newcomers and those who followed them has lingered. In turn, Spanish, French, English, and American observers learned slowly over the decades that the region was even more vast than they had suspected-some 1,500 miles (2,400 km) north to south by 700 miles (1,100 km) or more east to west. It would be even longer before they realized that the 16th-century dog-nomads they had met there, themselves possibly recent comers from the north, were only the latest in a long succession of native peoples who from time to time inhabited the region; that there were other ways of life that could be successfully pursued here; and that the known record of human experience on the Great Plains would lengthen as spectacularly as its boundaries expanded with growing knowledge and understanding...

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