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The Dismal River Complex and the Continuing Debate of Early Apachean Presence on the Central Great Plains

Author(s): Matthew Hill ; Sarah Trabert ; Margaret Beck

Year: 2017

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Great Plains Apachean groups have a strong documentary presence between the mid-1500s to the early 1700s, but the archaeological record of these groups is poorly understood. Early researchers such as James Gunnerson and Waldo Wedel argued strongly that Dismal River sites represented the earliest expression for Apachean groups in the Central Great Plains. These claims are still widely accepted, in part because there is little recent work to contradict them. The exciting research on early Navajo and Promontory sites in the last decade addresses larger questions about Proto-Apachean population movements, highlighting a possible role for Dismal River archaeology in reconstructing movements to the south. So far, efforts to include Dismal River data in the larger Proto-Apachean picture often rely on outdated information. Here we synthesize current views of the Dismal River complex, focusing on new data for site chronology and ceramic technology that help us reevaluate older ideas about Dismal River identity and interactions with neighboring groups. We highlight how the Dismal River complex can contribute to broader discussions of Apachean community formation across North America.

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The Dismal River Complex and the Continuing Debate of Early Apachean Presence on the Central Great Plains. Matthew Hill, Sarah Trabert, Margaret Beck. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431875)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15153

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