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Great Basin

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Great Basin Early Adaptations Culture History Rock Art Fish Trap Metate Cradle board Rock Art Rock art appears in two forms; petroglyphs and pictographs. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Great Basin


1
Great Basin
  • Early Adaptations
  • Culture History
  • Rock Art

2
The Great Basin
  • The Great Basin is an archaeological area that is
    geographically defined by
  • Most of the states of Nevada and Utah
  • Southern inland California
  • Southern Idaho
  • Southwest Wyoming
  • Southeast Oregon

3
Great Basin Region
4
The Great Basin Environment
  • A 400,000 sq mile desert between the Rocky
    Mountains and the Sierra Nevada with alternating
    high mountain ranges and deep valley basins.
  • Altitudinal and topographic variations in the
    occurrence of effective moisture gave rise to a
    series of biotically varied microenvironments
    that the native peoples exploited by ranging
    among them in a regular annual cycle, except in
    the most favored areas.
  • A demanding environment, one of the most rigorous
    in native North America.

5
Environment
  • Lower temperatures, higher rainfall, and denser
    vegetation in higher elevations. Dramatic
    fluctuations of precipitation, and thus food
    resources, from year to year.
  • Also changes caused by lake level shifts,
    treeline shifts, dune activity, earthquakes, and
    volcanoes.
  • Resource distribution was highly patchy and
    unpredictable, and surrounded by sparser
    environments.

6
Environment, cond
  • Most extensive, productive distribution of
    resources in the foothill zone, with nut pines
    (e.g., pinon), sagebrush, mountain brush,
    mesquite beans, screwbean, some acorns, tubers,
    berries and other fruits, and deer and other
    game.
  • Hot and inhospitable deserts below the foothills,
    but also highly productive lakes and marshes with
    diverse plants and animals. Forests and meadows
    at higher elevations with deer, pronghorns, and
    bighorn sheep.

7
Pinon Pine Nuts
8
Pinon Pine Flour
9
Rabbit Skin Cape
10
Salt Lakes
11
River Valleys
12
Human adaptations
  • Human adaptations to this unpredictable, harsh
    environment were based on highly flexible and
    mobile tiroad-spectrum gathering-hunting
    strategies except in the most favored areas
    (large lakes and marshes).
  • Group size, stability, and sedentism varied
    widely, depending on resource availability and
    technological adaptation.
  • While 80 of the sites are in the foothill zone,
    the densest, most sedentary, and complex
    populations around the rich lowland marshes,
    where many of the most famous sites occur (e.g.,
    Danger and Hogup caves in Utah, and Hidden and
    Lovelock caves in Nevada).

13
Human adaptations
  • The same basic material culture inventory
    persisted for thousands of years wooden digging
    stick manos and metates chipped stone
    projectile points, knives, and scrapers
    sophisticated baskets, skin bags, cloaks, and
    fiber sandals nets, decoys, basket traps.
    Roasting pits and above ground storage bins.
  • People managed their environment to increase its
    productivity (e.g., burning, damming, scattering
    wild seeds).

14
The Desert Archaic (c. 7500 BC to modern times in
some areas)
  • Extinction of Ice Age megafauna, increasing
    aridity and heat, shrinking lakes and marshes,
    and localization of food resources led to
    emergence of the Desert Archaic c. 7500 BC in
    east and c. 5000 BC in west.
  • Emerge historically as the Numic-speaking
    Shoshone and Paiute.

15
Desert Archaic
  • A major adaptive shift characterized by
  • Exploitation ofa far more diverse food base (from
    a Paleoindian hunting lifeway) and settlement
    pattern, with semi-permanent winter base camps
    with storage facilities.
  • Paleoindian concentration around great lakes
    (e.g. Great Salt Lake in Utah) gives way to a
    mobile life-way throughout a wide variety of
    environmental settings. Year-round hunting and
    foraging, with a growing focus on plant
    collecting.
  • An intensification of these trends after 3000 BC,
    with pinon nuts becoming a major element of the
    diet after AD 500.
  • In western Great Basin human coprolites from
    Lovelock and other caves used to reconstruct
    diet.
  • Bow and arrow, and some pottery, after AD 500.

16
Reconstructed Hut
17
Great Basin Point Types
18
Danger Cave, Utah
  • Located above the Great Salt Lake
  • ca. 9000 B.C. began to be occupied.
  • Animals in variety were exploited
  • Plants (65 species) varied as well
  • Dry conditions favored preservation of organic
    artifacts
  • Woven artifacts
  • Nets, Textiles, Baskets
  • Wooden artifacts
  • Arrows, Haftings, etc.
  • Effigies split-wood mountain goat effigies

19
Excavations conducted at Danger Cave in 2002
http//www.dri.edu/Home/Features/text/prehistoric_
plant.htm
20
(No Transcript)
21
Artifacts from Danger Cave
22
Hogup Cave, Utah
  • Hogup Cave chronology gives a good long sequence
    (broken up into "units" or levels)
  • Unit I
  • ca. 6400-350 B.C.
  • Conditions were moist
  • Unit II
  • ca. 300 B.C.-A.D. 400
  • Dry conditions
  • Desert tends to disperse population
  • Unit III
  • ca. A.D. 400-1300
  • Fairly moist conditions
  • This is the time of the florescence of the
    Fremont Culture (to be discussed momentarily)
  • Unit IV
  • ca. A.D. 1300-1850
  • Dry (note, coincidence of this and the "Little
    Ice Age"?)
  • The ethnic Shoshone occupy the area
  • With the exception of the Fremont, the archaic
    life way continues in most areas to the time of
    the historic Shoshone

23
Promontory Pegs Used for traps
http//www.nps.gov/gosp/research/prom_peg.htm
24
Hidden Cave, Nevada
http//www.ccmuseum.org/Programs/hiddencave.htm
25
Lovelock Cave, Nevada
Duck decoys
http//www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology/sites/nort
hamerica/lovelock_cave.html
26
White Dog Cave, Utah
Yeller ca. 2400 BP
Dody Fugate, Assistant Curator, Archaeological
Research Collections Museum of Indian Arts and
Culture
27
White Dog Cave, Utah
Spotty ca. 2400 BP
Dody Fugate, Assistant Curator, Archaeological
Research Collections Museum of Indian Arts and
Culture
28
Fremont Culture (AD 400-1300)
  • Sedentary horticultural communities in scattered
    farmsteads and small villages with some Southwest
    traits (pithouses, stone architecture, pottery,
    maize-beans-squash cultivation).
  • Large internal variation with uncertain origins,
    ethnic affiliations, and demise (though the
    demise is associated with the onset of the Little
    Ice Age.
  • Primarily in the eastern Great Basin (and the
    northern Southwest).

29
Fremont Characteristics include
  • Maize-beans-squash cultivation with an important
    hunting-gathering component, which separates it
    from Southwest groups like the Anasazi.
  • Some small-scale ditch irrigation.
  • Settlements small, usually with only one or a few
    scattered houses.
  • Numerous limited activity ("camp") sites probably
    associated with hunting-gathering.
  • Pithouses and above ground storage facilities of
    adobe.
  • No kivas or community compounds, but some
    pueblo-like masonry structures adjacent to the
    Southwest.

30
Fremont Culture
Reconstructed pit house
31
Fremont Characteristics include
  • Pottery similar to that of the Anasazi. Unfired
    clay figurines.
  • Manos and trough metates.
  • Leather moccasins rather than fiber sandals of
    other Southwest traditions.
  • Coiled and twined baskets distinctive to this
    culture.
  • Horned and shield-bearing warriors in pictographs
    similar to those in northwest Plains.

32
Painted Buffalo robes
33
Basketry
34
Fish Trap
35
Metate
36
Cradle board
37
Rock Art
  • Rock art appears in two forms petroglyphs and
    pictographs.
  • Petroglyphs are made by chipping away the darker
    outside layer ( patina ) of rock with a stone,
    exposing the lighter natural color beneath.
  • Pictographs, on the other hand, are painted on
    the rock face using mineral and plant pigments.
  • The true meaning or intent of the artists in some
    rock art is not known, although some sites
    suggest hunting scenes, religious ceremonies,
    warfare and combat, fertility, birth, counting or
    calendars.

38
Ancestral Puebloan petroglyph, 'Inscription
Rock', El Morro National Monument, New Mexico
Ancestral Puebloan pictograph, Tlaloc Figure
39
Cultures, Styles, and Age of Rock Art
  • Many different cultures represented in
    Southwestern US rock art sites however, four
    groups of peoples are most prevalent (Dates shown
    are approximate).
  • Archaic - 5,000 BC to 300 AD
  • Ancestral Puebloan - 300 AD to 1300 AD
  • Fremont - 500 AD to 1400 AD
  • Historic Tribes- 1400 AD to 1875 AD

40
Early Petroglyphs
Pit and Groove Petroglyphs are older than 5000
years. Petroglyphs are dated by the amount of
discoloration, Desert Varnish", which has formed
on the etching.
41
Desert Varnish
  • Some cliffs look like they've been painted. They
    have a dark red, brown, or black coating.

42
Petroglyphs
43
Later Petroglyphs (lt2000 B.P.)Atlatl Rock,
Valley of Fire, Nevada
44
Fremont Culture
45
Pictographs
geometric pictograph
http//www.petroglyphs.us/photographs_pictographs_
mojave_desert_BTW.htm
46
Two anthropomorphs and geometric designs
47
Sources
  • http//www.dri.edu/Home/Features/text/prehistoric_
    plant.htm
  • http//www.nps.gov/gosp/research/prom_peg.htm
  • http//www.rockartimages.com/pages/2/index.htm
  • http//www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/northameric
    a/linked/fremontrockart.html
  • http//museum.ceu.edu/people.htm
  • http//fhss.byu.edu/anthro/mopc/pages/Exhibitions/
    Kachinas/Fremont/fremont_cradle_page.htm
  • http//www.eduscapes.com/nature/rocvarnsh/index3.h
    tm
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