Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains

Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 288
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains
    Book Description:

    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. Contributors: o Paul Burnett o Oskar Burger o Minette C. Church o Philip Duke o Kevin Gilmore o Eileen Johnson o Mark D. Mitchell o Michael R. Peterson o Lawrence Todd

    eISBN: 978-0-87081-988-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology, History, Geography

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. ONE A Sloping Land: An Introduction to Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains
    (pp. 1-16)
    Bonnie J. Clark and Laura L. Scheiber

    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 from which he first spied Pike’s Peak. Hoping for a clear day, celebrants returned to this location on the High Plains (just outside Las Animas, Colorado) to read his journal and, for a moment, to attempt to see the world through his eyes. Of course, for thousands of years preceding Pike, the vista he encountered...

  6. TWO Intersecting Landscapes in Northeastern Colorado: A Case Study from the Donovan Site
    (pp. 17-40)
    Laura L. Scheiber

    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 by the theoretical work of Barbara Bender, Tim Ingold, and Keith Basso and also by the firm methodological commitment to spatial analysis by High Plains archaeologists such as Lawrence Todd, David Rapson, and Charles Reher. In this chapter, I discuss how an emphasis on landscape shapes interpretations at one case study in northeastern Colorado....

  7. THREE Making Places: Burned Rock Middens, Feasting, and Changing Land Use in the Upper Arkansas River Basin
    (pp. 41-70)
    Mark D. Mitchell

    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 and the environment (e.g., Steward 1938; Wedel 1953). By the close of the 1960s, the study of human ecology, often conducted by interdisciplinary teams, had become an important aspect of archaeological research throughout the Americas.

    An integrated landscape approach emerged in the 1970s, as archaeologists began to recognize the importance of understanding activities taking place away from...

  8. FOUR Ritual Landscapes, Population, and Changing Sense of Place during the Late Prehistoric Transition in Eastern Colorado
    (pp. 71-114)
    Kevin P. Gilmore

    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 nomadic people, whose effect on non-site environments is (for the most part) imperceptible, is difficult within the limits of current methodologies because of a combination of low population density, a highly mobile, scattered population, and individualistic, family-centered technologies (Johnson 1989:214). This site-centered focus on environment has shed little light on these people’s ideology and attitudes and has made...

  9. FIVE Landscapes and Peoples of the Llano Estacado
    (pp. 115-156)
    Eileen Johnson

    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 within the framework of a landscape approach. The geology, flora, and fauna are not simply background material but instead are an integral part of the landscape and form many of that landscape’s resources. The theoretical perspective sets the stage for a greater effort than is presented here but also provides an overall interpretive framework...

  10. SIX The Details of Home: Landscape Continuity in the High Plains
    (pp. 157-172)
    Bonnie J. Clark

    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 for each use is clearly separated from the ones above and below it. In reality, our sites are often palimpsests, with evidence of earlier and later occupations intermingled. Rather than ignore such sites, advocates of landscape archaeology highlight their information potential. These intermingled sites embody what Kurt...

  11. SEVEN Purgatorio, Purgatoire, or Picketwire: Negotiating Local, National, and Transnational Identities along the Purgatoire River in Nineteenth-Century Colorado
    (pp. 173-202)
    Minette C. Church

    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, and shape landscapes and how landscapes, in turn, shape human behavior. The themes are defined without reference to what some have considered in many cases false dichotomies of “natural” versus “cultural” landscapes or implicitly hierarchical core versus peripheral or frontier areas; the editors instead refer to heterarchically “nested” or linked spaces,...

  12. EIGHT The Behavior of Surface Artifacts: Building a Landscape Taphonomy on the High Plains
    (pp. 203-236)
    Oskar Burger, Lawrence C. Todd and Paul Burnett

    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 must consider artifact contexts as different from the “milieu in which they lived.” Willey’s opening paragraph to the Virú Valley settlement pattern survey represents a precocious recognition of the role of formation process studies, or taphonomic perspectives, applied to the study of landscapes. The wisdom in Willey’s observations on the nature...

  13. NINE Prehistoric Settlement Patterns on the High Plains of Western Nebraska and the Use of Geographic Information Systems for Landscape Analyses
    (pp. 237-276)
    Michael R. Peterson

    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 highest concentrations of archaeological sites on the High Plains. Environmental resources and prehistoric settlement patterns across this region are assessed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and predictive modeling techniques. New archaeological site and settlement data also yield important information for interpreting site location patterning across...

  14. TEN Places in the Heartland: Landscape Archaeology on the Plains
    (pp. 277-286)
    Philip Duke

    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 human behavior. Even in an overtly nontheoretical arena, finds of early human sites put the western Plains on the world’s archaeological map. However, after World War II, things seemed to change. Plains archaeology settled into a comfortable mode of drawing its...

  15. About the Contributors
    (pp. 287-290)
  16. Index
    (pp. 291-296)