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Exploring Prehistoric Resource Distribution in the Black Mesa Region: A Plains- Montane Ecotone in Cimarron County, Oklahoma

Author(s): Alesha Marcum-Heiman ; Kristen Carlson ; Leland C. Bement

Year: 2015

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The Black Mesa region of Oklahoma is located in northwestern Cimarron County, and constitutes the edge of the Chaquaqua Plateau. It is the easternmost finger of Colorado's Mesa de Maya. Situated along Oklahoma's western border, Black Mesa is the highest and largest in a system of mesas and valleys that extend westward to merge with the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The relief of this landscape is exaggerated by its juxtaposition with the high plains to the north, south, and east – it is thus referred to as the gateway to the Rockies. This ecotone contains a unique array of resources that have been exploited from the Paleoindian through historic periods. This paper focuses on the prehistoric utilization of these resources and the current state of archaeological knowledge of this transitional landscape. We synthesize the prehistoric record as documented principally in Oklahoma Archaeological Survey project reports. We highlight in particular the high quality quartzite that outcrop in the area and have been reported at sites both in and far from the Black Mesa region.

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Exploring Prehistoric Resource Distribution in the Black Mesa Region: A Plains- Montane Ecotone in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. Alesha Marcum-Heiman, Leland C. Bement, Kristen Carlson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395329)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America