Were Bison Predictable Prey? Using Stable Isotopes to Examine Early Holocene Bison Mobility on the Central Great Plains.

 Folsom Settlement Organization in the Southern Rocky Mountains: An Analysis of Dwelling Space at the Mountaineer Site

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Below are abstracts for masters theses and doctoral dissertations with relevance to Great Plains anthropology. Email us if you wish for us to consider posting the abstract of your completed masters thesis or doctoral dissertation.

Were Bison Predictable Prey? Using Stable Isotopes to Examine Early Holocene Bison Mobility on the Central Great Plains

By Andrew Boehm
PhD Dissertation
Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University

By Brooke M. Morgan
PhD Dissertation Abstract
Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University

This dissertation examines the socio-economic context of a high-elevation Folsom community settlement in the Upper Gunnison Basin, Colorado.Previous research documented four  Folsom-age dwelling structures at the Mountaineer site thought to be occupied contemporaneously. Building on this work, this dissertation addresses questions of Folsom  site  organization in a montane environment during a prolonged (and possibly winter) occupation in order to expand the current understanding of Folsom adaptations. Ethnographic evidence  from modern hunter-gatherer groups suggests that the dwellings at Mountaineer most likely functioned as part of a single socioeconomic unit, or household. The hypothesis for dwelling functional integration (as opposed to functional redundancy) is presented here to assess the role these structures played in Folsom society.This was accomplished through analysis of  lithic assemblages and investigating spatial distribution of artifacts and features in relation to the dwelling spaces.

The main conclusions to be drawn from these analyses are: (1) tool assemblages vary between the dwellings, and suggest different tasks were emphasized in different locations; (2) indoor and outdoor areas were utilized in different ways, perhaps due to the space requirements of certain activities, such as scraping hides; (3) the characteristics of lithic refits between the shelters suggest these materials were not restricted in their movement across the site, and may indicate sharing occurred; and (4) combined, the differences in tool assemblages, structure size, and activity arrangement within dwelling areas may feasibly be interpreted as a reflection of gendered spaces in this community.

These results confirm the hypothesis that dwellings at Mountaineer functioned as part of a single household, and that "dwellings" do not equate to "households." It is argued that the unique challenges of the Upper Gunnison Basin Late Pleistocene environment may have required Folsom foragers to expand their diet breadth as their residence at Mountaineer lengthened and large-bodied ungulates became scarcer. This would have affected the activities performed by women and men, and formerly gendered spaces could have overlapped or become integrated as women and men negotiated new subsistence roles. Such a perspective on gendered labor relations is necessary to move beyond the projectile point/big game hunting focus typical of Folsom archaeology.

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