Prehistory of NA Test 1 Lecture 7 (paleoindian lifeways)

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Prehistory of NA Test 1 Lecture 7 (paleoindian lifeways)
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  1. Paleoindian Lifeways:  The Peopling of a Continent

    parameters at play for populations moving across NA : completely new enviro for 1st people
    • Maintaining Resource Returns- keeping food on the table, particularly as preferred or high-ranked resources decline, (decision process is important in terms of quantity and yield, but in reality it has to do with whats available and not wasting time looking for high ranked items)
    • Maintaining Contact Between Dispersed Groups- to exchange information, resources, and especially mates. (learning from other groups to form alliances and networks)
    • Minimizing Group Size- to buffer environmental uncertainty or risk on an unknown landscape(more people = greater demand for resources. smaller group more ideal)
    • Maximizing Mobility- to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible about the landscape and its resources in order to reduce environmental uncertainty in space and time. (ability to learn has to do with ability to get around. the longer you stay in an area the more you know about it)
    • Maximizing Time in Resource-rich Habitats- to enhance knowledge of specific changes in resource abundance and distribution. You learn more the longer you stay.
    • survival depends on ability to understand the landscape, animal behavior and location, ecology and where to find materials
    • we should not fall in to the trap assuming that people in the past are not equally or more adept than us because people are savvy and have access to knowledge
  2. The Death of Overkill: Subsistence in the New World

    Paul Martin??
    megafauna??
    Paul Martin- a proponent of the overkill hypothesis. (that new populations were killing off megafauna) The rope-a-dope argument (overkill happened so fast)

    There are some problems with overkill (you already know a few):

    extinction of megafauna was a global event caused by the global event of younger dryas

    if we expect humans to kill off megafauna we should expect megafauna kill sites globally

    no one is going over the top with hunting megafauna

    of all sites in NA only 76 are kill sites of large game, out of these only 14 actually resemble actual kill sites with points in tack

    • Ca. 35 mammalian species went extinct,
    • but only two have been found associated with human kill-sites which are mastadon and mammoths  (i.e. where are the horses, camels, sloths, musk ox, and giant beavers?)

    • Bison, a species much exploited by
    • humans, survived and thrived until just 150 years ago.  Similarly, the Sea Duck (Chedytes lawi) of coastal California and Oregon
    • took 7000 years to go extinct.
  3. Broken mammoth site
    • ☀in central Alaska along the banks of Tanana River
    • ☀excavated by David Yesner
    • ☀excellent preservation of faunal remains with
    • 10,000 bones recovered
    • ☀a lot of Bison, elk, caribou, moose, mountain
    • sheep. But also: Ground squirrel, hare, marmot, river otter, and collared pika.
    • And, Tundra swan, geese, ducks, and
    • willow ptarmigan, Salmon and Grayling...
    • ☀but no mammoth
    • ☀people are not just pursuing large game, but also little ones.
    • ☀all these animals have different behaviors so specialized knowledge is needed for each especially in regards to vitamin D source
    • ☀so it should be expected that marine resources be exploited.
    • ☀there are decorative objects made out of mammoth at the site that are much older and retrieved from elsewhere, but still no mammoth
  4. A Matter of Rocks, Wood, and Bone:
    Learning and Living the Landscape

    A Much-a-do About Lithics
    we lack a lot of knowledge about what people are doing and how they are doing it bc preservation. organic material dont preserve

    Gault, Texas = tons of lithic debris, stone with incised lines on it evident of symbolic behavior

    Murray Springs, Arizona = polished and grounded bone, shaft straightener to keep shafts straight

    Thunderbird Site,Virginia = manufacturing site, 10,000 pieces of debitage, including near-finished points that broke during the later production phase

    sites like these allow for reconstruction of the entire manufacturing process and dismantle arguments like the solutrean hypothesis
  5. clovis caching
    • ☀no other NA artifacts have caching characteristic like clovis
    • ☀people are caching their raw materials
    • probably due to uncertainty of their landscape and the easy accessibility to the raw material depending on their movement amongst the land
  6. Richey Roberts Site
    • cache site
    • East Wenatchee,Washington
    • discovered in 1980's
    • 40 artifacts found some are:
    • covered in red ochre (deliberately stained could be indicative of markers, symbolism)
    • some are projectile points,
    • preforms (partly worked on), bifaces, and scrapers
  7. Anzick site
    • cache site in Montana
    • excavated in 1968-1971
    • clovis cache stained with ochre found above a child burial (unknown if child is associated with cache)
  8. A Relative Chronology of N. America
    • universal relative chronology
    • has different idiosyncrasy in NA
    • paleoindian period represents first populations in NA that lasts around 10,000 years ago
    • people in a certain locations have different ideas of making their tools and passing them on to other generations according to their sensibilities
    • archaic either followed by woodland or ceramic period - depends on where you are in NA, but all it means is that people are making ceramics

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