Late Paleoindian Occupation of the Southern Rocky Mountains: Early Holocene Projectile Points and Land Use in the High Country

Late Paleoindian Occupation of the Southern Rocky Mountains: Early Holocene Projectile Points and Land Use in the High Country

Late Paleoindian Occupation of the Southern Rocky Mountains: Early Holocene Projectile Points and Land Use in the High Country

Late Paleoindian Occupation of the Southern Rocky Mountains: Early Holocene Projectile Points and Land Use in the High Country

Synopsis

Explores how some of North America's earliest people used the Rocky Mountain landscape 10,000 to 7,500 years ago. Bonnie L Pitblado is particularly concerned with the extent to which early people incorporated the southern Rocky Mountains into their settlement systems and how late Paleoindian people moved across the southern Rocky Mountain landscape. Based on extensive research comparing more than 600 painstakingly documented late Paleoindian projectile points from Colorado and Utah, this book reveals profound regional differences along three axes of projectile point variability, which suggests equally profound regional differences in late Paleoindian settlement strategies. Pitblado highlights unique characteristics of early human use of the southern Rocky Mountains, but the comparative nature of the research also yields new inferences about late Paleoindian use of the Colorado Plains, the Utah Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau.

Excerpt

For decades, archaelogists and others with a passion for prehistory have been enthralled by Paleoindian sites on the Great Plains and in the Great Basin of the western United States. The Rocky Mountains that geographically separate these regions, however, have been the subject of considerably less attention, although a few hardy archaeologists like Wil Husted, Jim Benedict, Liz Morris, and George Frison have long stressed their role in the human story.

Despite the lack of archaeological focus, the Rocky Mountains are vitally important to our understanding of the earliest human adaptations in the western United States. Obvious questions to be answered include: When did human occupation of the Rockies fluoresce? Did Paleoindian people occupy the Rockies year-round, seasonally, or only sporadically? If Paleoindians did not spend all year in the mountains, where did they spend the rest of their time—to the east or to the west? How, specifically, did people move around the mountain landscape? Did Rocky Mountain Paleoindian settlement strategies differ from those practiced in neighboring lowland regions to the east and west?

The research reported in this book attempts to answer these questions, focusing most particularly on characterizing the extent and nature of human occupation of the Southern Rocky Mountains, circa 10,000–7,500 years ago.

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