Archaeology and Geomorphology of Paleo-shorelines at Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming


Recent archaeological and geomorphological studies illuminate an understanding of paleo-shorelines along Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming. Current shorelines are not always adequate predictors of prehistoric archaeological site locations due to ever-shifting lake levels over the last 12,000 years. The 20-mile-long Yellowstone Lake is within a caldera and, thus, has experienced dramatic shifts in lake levels associated with volcanism. In addition, lake levels have changed greatly due to Late Pleistocene rebounding from isostatic depression and glacial melting. Until this year, archaeological survey along the eastern shore of the lake had failed to identify Paleoindian sites; however, recent surveys have identified Cody Complex cultural materials on Yellowstone Lake paleo-shorelines as much as 700m interior from the current beach. In contrast, some paleo-shorelines in the southwestern portion of Yellowstone Lake are submerged under the current lake. This paper attempts to make sense of the information collected by geomorphologists and archaeologists to better understand and predict the locations of ancient sites around the various shorelines of Yellowstone Lake.

Cite this Record

Archaeology and Geomorphology of Paleo-shorelines at Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming. Douglas MacDonald, Matthew Nelson, Jordan McIntyre. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430550)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15417