Paleo-archaic broad spectrum adaptations at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary in Far Western North America

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Title: Paleo-archaic broad spectrum adaptations at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary in Far Western North America
Author: Willig, Judith A. (Judith Ann), 1953-
Abstract: Western Clovis and Western Stemmed cultural traditions, archaeologically indexed by fluted (Clovis) and stemmed projectile point complexes, represent the earliest human occupation documented in Far Western North America. The temporal closeness of Western Clovis, dated roughly from 11,500 to 11,000 B.P., to Western Stemmed complexes known as early as 11,140 to 10,800 B.P., has generated debate over the age and historical relationship of these cultures. The frequent co-occurrence of fluted and stemmed points along the lowest strandlines in pluvial lake basins has also led scholars to hypothesize an early development of the characteristically "Archaic" lake-marsh adaptations known from later periods. Geoarchaeological research in the northern Alkali Lake Basin of south-central Oregon has addressed these issues of cultural chronology and economy by seeking data to test a paleoecological model of human land use in the basin from 11,500 to 7,000 B.P. The model posits a late Pleistocene Western Clovis settlement oriented to a small, shallow lake or pond, followed by an early Holocene Western Stemmed occupation around a much larger lake and marsh fringe. Data gathered through basin-wide site survey, stratigraphic studies, and high-resolution mapping of lake features and artifacts, support the model as proposed, and reveal a settlement pattern indicative of a "tethered" focus on local lake-marsh habitats. Research also verifies the horizontal separation of fluted and stemmed artifacts on different, sequent shorelines, indicating that Western Clovis occupation precedes Western Stemmed, although the two are close in time. Data from Alkali Basin, and elsewhere, support the notion that Far Western cultures developed broad-spectrum adaptations much earlier than was once thought. This implies that the foundations of the Western Archaic were already in place by 11,000 B.P. In keeping with the adaptive flexibility embodied within the Desert Culture concept, environmental data further suggest that this "paleo-Archaic" lifeway developed quickly, not gradually, in response to punctuated climatic change and the emerging mosaic of regional habitats which characterized the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, at a time when the desert as we know it was just coming into being.
Description: xx, 463 p. : ill., maps. Two print copies of this title are available through the UO Libraries under the call number: KNIGHT E61 .W72 1989
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/9220
Date: 1989-06


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