XVI INQUA Congress
Paper No. 65-9
Presentation Time: 11:10 AM-11:30 AM

HUMAN ADAPTATIONS IN THE GREAT BASIN BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE YOUNGER DRYAS

GOEBEL, Ted, Department of Anthropology, Univ of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, goebel@unr.edu and GRAF, Kelly, Department of Anthropology, Univ of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV 89557, kelichka7@yahoo.com

Our knowledge of the Great Basin's first human inhabitants has grown considerably in the past twenty years. Analyses of animal and plant remains recovered from caves, rockshelters, and buried open-air sites indicate that early hunter-gatherers in the region consumed a broad array of animals and plants, not just high-ranked large-mammal resources. Studies of lithic technological organization (based primarily on artifact assemblages from undated surface sites) further suggest that these hunter-gatherers were highly mobile, often ranging across territories 200-400 kilometers in extent. Resulting models of human behavior typically portray early humans as being "Paleoarchaic" in character, "Paleo" referring to their high mobility, and "Archaic" to their broad diet breadth.

The Paleoarchaic model, however, may be an over-simplification of the early Great Basin record, and there may have been much more variability in adaptations across space and through time than is typically recognized. Obsidian-sourcing data from the northern Great Basin, for example, suggest that mobility ranges in this region may have been smaller in scale than in the central-western Great Basin. Further, millennial-scale climate changes across the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary appear to have induced oscillations in pluvial lake levels as well as changes in plant and animal landscapes. How did such changes impact human population densities and land-use strategies in various regions of the Great Basin? This paper addresses these questions by considering hunter-gatherer adaptations across the region before, during, and after the Younger Dryas.

XVI INQUA Congress
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 65
Paleoindian Western North America: Climate and Life at the Last Glacial Termination
Reno Hilton Resort and Conference Center: Tahoe
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, , p. 191

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