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Environmental Limitations, Alpine Villages and Logistical Strategies in the Northern White Mountains

Author(s): Christopher Morgan ; Robert Bettinger ; Mark Giambastiani ; Marielle Black

Year: 2015

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Summary

Recent investigations in the extremely remote and previously unsurveyed northern White Mountains have identified a pattern of alpine land use consistent with many other alpine regions in and around the Great Basin: one focused mainly on artiodactyl hunting. But sites similar to the alpine villages in the southern portion of the range were discovered at the subalpine-alpine ecotone. GIS analyses suggest the relative dearth of high elevation villages in the north is explained by environmental limitations, in particular difficulty of access to markedly smaller stands of piñon pine at lower elevations, which are thought to have helped subsidize residential occupations in the south. Complementary GIS analyses suggest the villages in the north served as residential bases from which long-range logistical hunting parties exploited game in alpine meadows on the northern summit ridge, this standing in contrast to the residential pattern seen in the south. Though superficially similar – both the northern and southern portion of the range contain high-altitude villages – the less intensive and logistical pattern in the north points to just how close to the margin the more intensive pattern in the south really was and to how limiting high altitude environments are to intensive human occupation.

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Environmental Limitations, Alpine Villages and Logistical Strategies in the Northern White Mountains. Christopher Morgan, Mark Giambastiani, Robert Bettinger, Marielle Black. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395977)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -122.761; min lat: 29.917 ; max long: -109.27; max lat: 42.553 ;

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