The Setting: Location, Environment and Excavation History

Author(s): Keith Johnson

Year: 2015


Antelope Cave is a large limestone cavern sunk beneath the rolling hills of the Uinkaret Plateau in northwestern Arizona. Native Americans lived in the cave intermittently for 4000 years during the Archaic and Puebloan periods. Environmental conditions over those thousands of years appear to have changed little. This paper addresses the variety and abundance of local resources available to the cave's inhabitants who lived in this semi-arid region north of the Grand Canyon. Flora in the vicinity of the site is scanty and characterized by xerophytic plants, grasses, and very few trees. Available fauna includes antelope, deer, rabbits, small rodents, snakes and birds. Just like in the area today, sufficient water for drinking, cooking and farming was a constant challenge for the cave's inhabitants and may have been a major factor contributing to the seasonal occupation of the cave. Archaeologists from three institutions excavated Antelope Cave in the 1950s and 1980s.

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Cite this Record

The Setting: Location, Environment and Excavation History. Keith Johnson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394880)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;