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Drought or Development? Patterns of Paleoindian Site Discovery on the Great Plains of North America

John D. Seebach
Plains Anthropologist
Vol. 51, No. 197 (February 2006), pp. 71-88
Published by: Maney Publishing on behalf of the Plains Anthropological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25670856
Page Count: 18
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Drought or Development? Patterns of Paleoindian Site Discovery on the Great Plains of North America
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Abstract

The extant dataset of Paleoindian sites on the Great Plains is routinely used to infer land use patterns, mobility and subsistence among the earliest foragers in the New World. Yet, the ways that the data have been accumulated call into question how representative our sample may be. There are peaks and valleys in periods of site discovery that correlate with local or regional environmental degradation, specifically drought, and the rise of CRM activities in the latter half of the 20th century. Areas currently seen to be lacking Paleoindian sites may not have lacked Paleoindian activity; rather, conditions may not have been conducive to site discovery. When speaking about broad patterns of Paleoindian adaptation, we need to remain cognizant of what our dataset contains and its limitations.

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