Insights into Prehistoric Footwear Landscapes

Author(s): Michael Billinger; John W. Ives

Year: 2017


In earlier research, we used Promontory moccasins dimensions to chart predictable relationships concerning moccasin length, foot length, stature and age. A high proportion (83%) of the discarded moccasins in the Promontory caves came from children and subadults. While a discard bias concerning adults males (more likely to discard moccasins outside of domestic contexts) must be acknowledged, the predominance of children and subadults suggested the presence of a growing population, consistent with other data suggesting that Promontory Culture peoples flourished in comparison to their terminal Fremont neighbors. The precision of the Promontory formulae in predicting stature and age from moccasins can be employed in assessing site function for a variety of footwear instances, including the Yukon ice patch moccasin from an area in or near the Proto-Athapaskan homeland, Franktown Cave in Colorado, Kenton Caves in Oklahoma and Ross Rockshelter and Daugherty Cave in Wyoming. We also contrast our findings with other large assemblages of footwear, including sandals from Antelope House in Arizona. The presence of children or subadults informs our understanding of the nature of different sites, suggesting occupations by small residential groups in some cases and individual larger moccasins consistent with migratory activities like adult male scouting in others.

Cite this Record

Insights into Prehistoric Footwear Landscapes. Michael Billinger, John W. Ives. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431884)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16505