Historical Archaeology of the American West

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

The American West has been defined in myriad ways, including geographically, environmentally, historically, and culturally. Whatever definition is used, however, it is clear that common trends and themes, such as culture contact, colonialism, labor, migration, and identity, are visible through historical archaeology studies. This symposium will include papers from across the American West and throughout the historic period in order to explore some of these themes and survey the current and future state of research.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-8 of 8)

  • Documents (8)

  • 19th Century Mining Life in Michigan's Upper Peninsula - The American West on the Wrong Side of the 100th Meridian (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brendan Pelto.

    The western Upper Peninsula of Michigan was home to many mining boom towns, similar to those associated more commonly with the American West. Clifton, the town site of the first profitable Copper Mine in Michigan, attracted workers of diverse ethnic backgrounds: Cornish, German, Irish, Native American, and African American. Michigan Technological University has conducted five seasons of field work at Clifton and the Cliff Mine, and has uncovered material remains that aid in the remembrance of...

  • Borderlands, Continuances and Violence: A Social Nexus at Black Star Canyon, San Juan Capistrano California (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nathan Acebo.

    Post European contact the historicity of the Santa Ana Mountain landscape of Orange County, California has been popularly constructed around the narratives of bucolic mission and ranch life, and that of the "wild frontier". The interplay between both histories has contributed to a memorialization of the Santa Ana Mountains as a borderland space during the Spanish, Mexican and American colonial eras that deemphasizes indigenous social life. This paper seeks to complicate the historical concept of...

  • Dendroarchaeology of the Otero Cabin, Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Rebecca Renteria. Ronald Towner. Anastasia Steffen. Galen McCloskey.

    The Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico has been the site of many culture group activities from prehistoric to present times due to its exceptionally resource-rich environment. During the early 20th century, profit-driven ventures left the landscape that we see today. A few families during this period were critical participants in the development of the VCNP environment. The earliest of these families was the Oteros who used land in the VCNP primarily for grazing horses,...

  • Give Me a Y-Beam: Architecture and Agency at Rural Chinese Woodchopping Camps, Mineral County, Nevada (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Emily Dale.

    For the turn-of-the-century rural Chinese woodchoppers of Mineral County, Nevada, the construction of cabins, dugouts, corrals, and fences served myriad functions. Yet, architecture, even in its simplest forms, consistently goes beyond the functional. The orientation of and relationships between structures, material preferences, and diverse construction techniques demonstrate the choices made by the Chinese as they strove to make a living supplying firewood to nearby mining boomtowns. This paper...

  • In Defence of the Fence in the American West (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Melonie Shier.

    The fence is integral to the mythology of the American West, particularly the barb wire fence, such as in the battle between cattle and sheep raisers and between pastoralists and agriculturalists. The years of the open range were short lived in comparison to the decades of fence construction and maintenance. Serving as boundaries and divisions of landscape, fence lines can give valuable insight into how peoples shaped their landscapes in the past and continue to shape it in the present. Although...

  • Making Ends Meet in Frontier New Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Erin Hegberg.

    In 19th century frontier New Mexico consumer relationships reflected important social networks that were essential to the survival of Hispanic settlements. These relationships played a vital role in the formation and maintenance of modern Hispanic identity during the Mexican and American Territorial Periods. Visually and functionally similar plainware ceramics were produced and used by many different cultural groups on the landscape in New Mexico in the 19th century. Hispanic residents were able...

  • Shadows of Sand Creek: A Case Study of the Colorado War and Its Historical Legacy (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Carroll.

    In 2013, a History Colorado Center presented an exhibit entitled "Collision: The Sand Creek Massacre 1860s to Today." It was soon closed due to a multitude of concerns from the Northern Cheyenne tribe including that fact was offensive to many tribal members, who believed the event was being portrayed as an inevitable clash of cultures rather than a isolated event. I intend to portray this event as a case study of the most recent in an ongoing clash over the portrayal of the event to the public...

  • Who are the Martinez? A Report on and Examination of High Elevation Aspen Dendroglyphs in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephen LaValley.

    This paper reports on mid-20th century aspen dendroglyphs from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in extreme north-central New Mexico. A class III archaeological survey conducted by Envirosystems Management, Inc. in July 2014 recorded ten previously unknown historic sites between 10,400 and 11,000 feet in elevation on the Carson National Forest. Each contains at least two and up to twenty-one carved aspens that date from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. Upon initial assessment, these sites appear to have...