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Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains

Edited by Laura L. Scheiber and Bonnie J. Clark

Publication Year: 2008

"All anthropologists and Plains scholars should have this book, especially geographers and historians, as well as biological and paleoenvironmental scientists. The volume is a good and easy read provindg a fresh perspective on the Plains."—Marcel Kornfeld, Great Plains Research

Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains combines history, anthropology, archaeology, and geography to take a closer look at the relationships between land and people in this unique North American region. Focusing on long-term change, this book considers ethnographic literature, archaeological evidence, and environmental data spanning thousands of years of human presence to understand human perception and construction of landscape. The contributors offer cohesive and synthetic studies emphasizing hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers. Using landscape as both reality and metaphor, Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains explores the different and changing ways that people interacted with place in this transitional zone between the Rocky Mountains and the eastern prairies. The contemporary archaeologists working in this small area have chosen diverse approaches to understand the past and its relationship to the present. Through these ten case studies, this variety is highlighted but leads to a common theme - that the High Plains contains important locales to which people, over generations or millennia, return. Providing both data and theory on a region that has not previously received much attention from archaeologists, especially compared with other regions in North America, this volume is a welcome addition to the literature

Published by: University Press of Colorado


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xi


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p. xiii

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1. A Sloping Land: An Introduction to Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains

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pp. 1-16

In 2006 history buffs celebrated the 200th anniversary of the moment when explorer Zebulon Pike first saw the mountain that would later bear his name. A great deal of effort was expended in historical detective work, using Pike’s accounts and maps to relocate the spot...

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2. Intersecting Landscapes in Northeastern Colorado: A Case Study from the Donovan Site

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pp. 17-40

The study of landscape incorporates holistic approaches for looking at the relationships among people, environments, and resources (Anschuetz, Wilshusen, and Scheick 2001; Layton and Ucko 1999). In my research, invoking a landscape perspective means considering multiple scales in space and time. I have been particularly inspired...

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3. Making Places: Burned Rock Middens, Feasting, and Changing Land Use in the Upper Arkansas River Basin

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pp. 41-70

Research on the relationships between human groups and the places they inhabit has a long history in American archaeology. In the 1930s and 1940s, scholars working in the Great Plains, the Southwest, and the Great Basin began to investigate the interactions between culture...

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4. Ritual Landscapes, Population, and Changing Sense of Place during the Late Prehistoric Transition in Eastern Colorado

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pp. 71-114

Until recently, the study of prehistoric hunter-gatherer landscapes has focused on the distribution of different functional site types and their topographic and environmental contexts rather than on the relationship of people to their landscape. This is the case because the study of...

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5. Landscapes and Peoples of the Llano Estacado

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pp. 115-156

In viewing the Llano Estacado (Figure 5.1) as a whole, a landscape approach is taken to provide the basis for further research. This current synthesis encompasses the physiography, biota, and cultural record of the Llano Estacado with the objective of integrating and placing that broader record...

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6. The Details of Home: Landscape Continuity in the High Plains

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pp. 157-172

Archaeology has always been engaged with place and landscape. However, our intellectual heritage rests largely on the search for the “type site,” the location that epitomizes life for a particular group at a particular time (Trigger 1989:96). Archaeologists often prize sites with a single occupation or ones with pristine stratigraphy where the evidence...

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7. Purgatorio, Purgatoire, or Picketwire: Negotiating Local, National, and Transnational Identities along the Purgatoire River in Nineteenth-Century Colorado

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pp. 173-202

In the introduction to their book Archaeologies of Landscape, A. Bernard Knapp and Wendy Ashmore (1999) divide the assembled authors’ treatments of landscape into four themes: “landscape as memory, landscape as identity, landscape as social order, and landscape as transformation.” These themes refer to the ways people conceptualize, perceive...

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8. The Behavior of Surface Artifacts: Building a Landscape Taphonomy on the High Plains

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pp. 203-236

More than a half-century ago, Gordon Willey exhibited a thorough awareness of the nature of the relationship between archaeological materials and the people who discarded them. Just as a modern-day paleobiologist would not analyze Willey’s “beach” as the home habitat for the “functioning organisms” that built the shells, archaeologists...

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9. Prehistoric Settlement Patterns on the High Plains of Western Nebraska and the Use of Geographic Information Systems for Landscape Analyses

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pp. 237-276

The aim of this chapter is to explore variability in prehistoric settlement patterns in the southern panhandle region of western Nebraska (Figures 9.1, 9.2). This area, which borders Wyoming and Colorado, is often referred to as the tri-state region. The unique landscape contributes to a broad diversity of environmental resources, which enabled one of the...

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10. Places in the Heartland: Landscape Archaeology on the Plains

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pp. 277-285

Seventy or so years ago, a Plains archaeologist could feel he or she was on the cutting edge of archaeological theory. William Duncan Strong (1935) and Waldo Wedel (1938) were developing the direct historical approach, and the latter (e.g., Wedel 1941) was trying to convince the rest of North America of the importance of the natural environment in explaining...

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pp. 287-290


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pp. 291-296

E-ISBN-13: 9780870819889
E-ISBN-10: 0870819887
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870819315
Print-ISBN-10: 0870819313

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 57 b&w photographs, 7
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 503441757
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains

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Subject Headings

  • Historic sites -- High Plains (U.S.).
  • Human ecology -- High Plains (U.S.) -- History.
  • Landscape archaeology -- High Plains (U.S.).
  • High Plains (U.S.) -- History, Local.
  • Social archaeology -- High Plains (U.S.).
  • Archaeology and history -- High Plains (U.S.).
  • High Plains (U.S.) -- Antiquities.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- High Plains (U.S.).
  • Indians of North America -- High Plains (U.S.) -- Antiquities.
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