Fifty Years of Archeology in the California Desert: An Archaeological Overview of Joshua Tree National Monument

Author(s): Thomas F. King

Year: 1975


This overview discusses Joshua Tree National Monument as a physical entity and as a cultural entity, delineating the changes in environment and land use to which it and adjacent regions of the California Desert have been subjected. The author summarizes and evaluates archeological investigations into the area's prehistory, beginning with the Campbells' pioneer efforts. Survey, concentrated in the northwest-central section of the Monument, has dominated research in the overview area, but a few excavations have been reported. Much of the work, until recently conducted almost exclusively by individual scholars and their associates, has suffered somewhat from inadvertent bias and must be characterized as inadequate in terms of modern archeological criteria. With substantial data available on only about 2.5% of the Monument, formulation of precise research problems would be premature, but some general questions about how and why people lived on the desert and about the effects the desert and its inhabitants had on one another are presented as guidelines for future research.

Cite this Record

Fifty Years of Archeology in the California Desert: An Archaeological Overview of Joshua Tree National Monument. Thomas F. King. Publications in Anthropology ,2. Tucson, Arizona: Western Archeological Center. 1975 ( tDAR id: 3957) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8KP80GD

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Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: -2000 to 1400

Spatial Coverage

min long: -116.488; min lat: 33.651 ; max long: -115.214; max lat: 34.225 ;

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Contact(s): Jason Theuer

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Contact(s): Jason Theuer