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dc.contributor.authorReckin, Rachel Jean
dc.date.accessioned2018-07-16T08:55:59Z
dc.date.available2018-07-16T08:55:59Z
dc.date.submitted2018-01-31
dc.identifier.urihttps://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/278102
dc.description.abstractIn the archaeological literature, mountains are often portrayed as the boundaries between inhabited spaces. Yet occupying high elevations may have been an adaptive choice for ancient peoples, as rapidly changing elevations also offer variation in climate and resources over a relatively small area. So what happens, instead, if we put mountain landscapes at the center of our analyses of prehistoric seasonal rounds and ecological adaptation? This Ph.D. argues that, in order to understand any landscape that includes mountains, from the Alps to the Andes, one must include the ecology and archaeology of the highest elevations. Specifically, I base my findings on new fieldwork and lithic collections from the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) of the Rocky Mountains, which was a vital crossroads of prehistoric cultures for more than 11,000 years. I include five interlocking analyses. First, I consider the impacts of anthropogenic climate change on high elevation cultural resources, focusing on the diminishing resiliency of ancient high elevation ice patches and the loss of the organic artifacts and paleobiological materials they contain. Second, I create a dichotomous key for chronologically typing projectile points, suggesting a methodological improvement for typological dating in the GYE and for surface archaeology more broadly. Third, I use obsidian source data to consider whether mountain people were a single, unified group or were represented by a variety of peoples with different zones of land tenure. Fourth, I consider high elevation occupation in both mountain ranges as part of the seasonal round, using indices of diversity in tool types and raw material to study how the duration of those occupations changed through time. And, finally, I test the common contention that ancient people primarily used mountains as refugia from extreme climatic pressure at lower elevations. Ultimately, I find that, in both mountain ranges, increased high elevation activity is most highly correlated with increased population, not with hot, dry climatic conditions. In other words, the mountains were more than simply refugia for plains or basin people to occupy when pressured by climatic hardship. In addition, between the Absarokas and the Beartooths the evidence suggests two different patterns of occupation, not a monolithic pan-mountain adaptation. These results demonstrate the potential contributions of surface archaeology to our understanding of prehistory, and have important implications for the way we think about mountain landscapes as peopled spaces in relation to adjacent lower-elevation areas.
dc.description.sponsorshipGates Cambridge Scholarship
dc.language.isoen
dc.rightsAll rights reserved
dc.rightsAll Rights Reserveden
dc.rights.urihttps://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved/en
dc.subjectarchaeology
dc.subjecthigh elevation
dc.subjectlithics
dc.subjecthunter-gatherers
dc.subjectforagers
dc.subjectlandscape archaeology
dc.subjecthuman behavioral ecology
dc.subjectice patch archaeology
dc.subjectmountain archaeology
dc.subjectclimate change
dc.subjectprojectile points
dc.subjecttypology
dc.subjectobsidian sourcing
dc.subjectland tenure
dc.subjectoccupational duration
dc.subjectlithic raw material studies
dc.subjectclimatic refugia
dc.subjectpaleodemography
dc.subjectpaleoclimate
dc.subjectAbsaroka Mountains
dc.subjectBeartooth Mountains
dc.subjectMontana
dc.subjectWyoming
dc.subjectYellowstone National Park
dc.subjectNumic Expansion
dc.subjectShoshone
dc.subjectCrow
dc.subjectdiversity index
dc.subjectpopulation
dc.subjectdichotomous key
dc.subjecthigh altitude
dc.subjectglacial archaeology
dc.titleMountains as Crossroads: Temporal and Spatial Patterns of High Elevation Activity in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoral
dc.type.qualificationnameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cambridge
dc.publisher.departmentArchaeology
dc.date.updated2018-07-13T15:51:05Z
dc.identifier.doi10.17863/CAM.25441
dc.publisher.collegeSt John's College
dc.type.qualificationtitlePh.D. Archaeology
cam.supervisorNigst, Philip
cam.thesis.fundingfalse
rioxxterms.freetoread.startdate2019-07-16


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