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White Mountains Alpine Village Pattern

Author(s): Robert Bettinger

Year: 2015

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The alpine zone (above 10,000 feet) of White Mountains of eastern California is the most extensive, and by far the most intensively occupied by aboriginal groups, in the Great Basin. The earliest consistent use, beginning about 5500 BP, is by hunting parties. Beginning sometime after A.D. 600, the White Mountains village residential pattern is distinctive, featuring one or more well-built dwellings, well-developed middens, and extensive assemblages of chipped and ground stone. While hunting was clearly important to the village pattern, artifact counts indicate a surprisingly heavy reliance on plants, milling equipment on average accounting for roughly 30% of all formal tools. The key distinction between the White Mountains pattern and its counterparts in central Nevada (Alta Toquima) and Wyoming (High Rise) is intensity of use. While High Rise houses were never used intensively, and Alta Toquima houses only rarely, all White Mountains houses were used repeatedly and intensively. This occupational intensity peaks after A.D. 1300, probably reflecting developments connected with the Numic spread. Earlier village use between A.D. 600 - 1300 noted here and at Alta Toquima is more likely the result of Basin-wide trajectory of regional intensification.

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White Mountains Alpine Village Pattern. Robert Bettinger. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395978)


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