Prehistoric Lifeways in the Great Basin Wetlands: Bioarchaeological Reconstruction and Interpretation

Prehistoric Lifeways in the Great Basin Wetlands: Bioarchaeological Reconstruction and Interpretation

by Brian Hemphill, Clark Spencer Larsen
     
 

Prehistoric Lifeways of the Great Basin Wetlands examines how the earliest inhabitants of the Great basin in Nevada, Utah, and Oregon made use of ancient marshes and lakes.

When the Great Salt Lake receded in the 1980s from its highest historically recorded levels, it exposed a large number of archaeological and burial sites. Other wetland areas in the

Overview

Prehistoric Lifeways of the Great Basin Wetlands examines how the earliest inhabitants of the Great basin in Nevada, Utah, and Oregon made use of ancient marshes and lakes.

When the Great Salt Lake receded in the 1980s from its highest historically recorded levels, it exposed a large number of archaeological and burial sites. Other wetland areas in the region experienced similar flooding and site exposure. The resulting archaeological bonanza resolved long-standing controversy over the role of wetlands in prehistoric Great Basin human subsistence. Previously, archaeologists argued two disparate views: either wetlands offered a wealth of resources and served as a magnet for human occupation and rather sedentary lifestyles, or wetlands provided only meager fare that was insufficient to promote increased sedentism. The exposure of human remains coincided with improved analytic techniques, enabling new conclusions about diet, behavior, and genetic affiliation.

This volume presents findings from three Great Basin wetland areas: Great Salt Lake, Stillwater Marsh (Nevada) and Malheur Lake (Oregon). The evidence presented here does not indicate the superiority of one interpretation over another but offers a more complex picture of variable adaptation, high mobility, and generally robust health among peoples living in a harsh setting with heavy physical demands. It is the first volume to draw together new approaches to the study of earlier human societies, including analysis of mtDNA for population reconstruction and cross-sectional geometric assessment of long bones for behavior interpretation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An excellent presentation of research results, and it serves as model for what can be done with skeletons excavated in less than ideal circumstances. This volume should be on the bookshelf of all human osteologists as well as archaeologists involved with Great Basin prehistory."—American Journal of Human Biology

"A fine book, eminently readable and a good primer for any reader wondering about the breadth and value of bioarchaeological research."—American Antiquity

Booknews
Anthropologists offer a new perspective on the archaeology of the US intermountain west by describing their research on three newly discovered assemblages of ancient human remains in Nevada, Oregon, and Utah that have more than doubled the available sample of human remains from the vast and important region of the continent. The skeletons all being from wetland lacustrine contexts, the contributors explore aspects of ancient lakeside adaptation of the desert west. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874806038
Publisher:
University of Utah Press
Publication date:
01/28/2000
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
394
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Brian E. Hemphill is professor of anthropology at California State University, Bakersfield.

Clark Spencer Larsen is Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and chair of the Department of Anthropology at The Ohio State University.

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