Skip to main content
view shopping cart

Prehistoric Lifeways in the Great Basin Wetlands

This item is only available through the the University of Utah Press secure online store. Please note, this online store is unrelated to the shopping cart on our site. If you wish to make a purchase from this store, items must be paid for separately and will ship separately from items in your shopping cart.

Continue Go Back

Add to Cart View cart

Copyright: 1999
Trim: 6 x 9
Pages: 416 pp.
Illustrations: 58 figures, 75 tables


Prehistoric Lifeways in the Great Basin Wetlands

Bioarchaeological Reconstruction and Interpretation

Edited by Brian E. Hemphill and Clark Spencer Larsen

Anthropology / Archaeology

Prehistoric Lifeways of the Great Basin Wetlands examines how the earliest inhabitants of the Great basin in Nevada, Utah, and Oregon made use of ancient marshes and lakes.

When the Great Salt Lake receded in the 1980s from its highest historically recorded levels, it exposed a large number of archaeological and burial sites. Other wetland areas in the region experienced similar flooding and site exposure. The resulting archaeological bonanza resolved long-standing controversy over the role of wetlands in prehistoric Great Basin human subsistence. Previously, archaeologists argued two disparate views: either wetlands offered a wealth of resources and served as a magnet for human occupation and rather sedentary lifestyles, or wetlands provided only meager fare that was insufficient to promote increased sedentism. The exposure of human remains coincided with improved analytic techniques, enabling new conclusions about diet, behavior, and genetic affiliation.

This volume presents findings from three Great Basin wetland areas: Great Salt Lake, Stillwater Marsh (Nevada) and Malheur Lake (Oregon). The evidence presented here does not indicate the superiority of one interpretation over another but offers a more complex picture of variable adaptation, high mobility, and generally robust health among peoples living in a harsh setting with heavy physical demands. It is the first volume to draw together new approaches to the study of earlier human societies, including analysis of mtDNA for population reconstruction and cross-sectional geometric assessment of long bones for behavior interpretation.

Brian E. Hemphill is professor of anthropology at California State University, Bakersfield.

Clark Spencer Larsen is Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and chair of the Department of Anthropology at The Ohio State University.


Robert L. Bettinger, University of California, Davis
Jason R. Bright, University of Utah
Shawn W. Carlyle, University of Utah
Joan Brenner Coltrain, University of Utah
Brian E. Hemphill, California State University, Bakersfield
Dale L. Hutchinson, East Carolina University
Frederika A. Kaestle, Yale University
Robert L. Kelly, University of Wyoming
Clark Spencer Larsen, University of North Carolina
Joseph G. Lorenz, Analytical Genetic Testing Center
Carol J. Loveland (deceased), Utah State University
Greg C. Nelson, University of Oregon
Albert C. Oetting, Heritage Research Associates, Inc.
Dennis H. O'Rourke, University of Utah
Anan W. Raymond, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Table of Contents:

List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword - David Hurst Thomas

1. Bioarchaeological Perspectives on Precontact Lifeways in the Great Basin Wetlands ~ Brian E. Hemphill and Clark Spencer Larsen
2. No One Owns the Deceased!: The Treatment of Human Remains from Three Great Basin Cases ~ Steven R. Simms and Anan W. Raymond
3. Farmers, Foragers, and Adaptive Diversity: The Great Salt Lake Wetlands Project ~ Steven R. Simms
4. Stable Carbon Isotopes and Great Salt Lake Wetlands Diet: Toward an Understanding of the Great Basin Formative ~ Joan Brenner Coltrain and Thomas W. Stafford Jr.
5. Molecular Genetic Variation in Prehistoric Inhabitants of the Eastern Great Basin ~ Dennis H. O'Rourke, Ryan L. Parr, and Shawn W. Carlyle
6. A Biological Perspective on Prehistoric Human Adaptation in the Great Salt Lake Wetlands ~ Jason R. Bright and Carol J. Loveland
7. Theoretical and Archaeological Insights into Foraging Strategies among the Prehistoric Inhabitants of the Stillwater Marsh Wetlands ~ Robert L. Kelly
8. Prehistoric Subsistence Strategies in the Stillwater Marsh Region of the Carson Desert ~ Margaret J. Schoeninger
9. Molecular Genetics and the Numic Expansion: A Molecular Investigation of the Prehistoric Inhabitants of Stillwater Marsh ~ Frederika A. Kaestle, Joseph G. Lorenz, and David Glenn Smith
10. Osteopathology of Carson Desert Foragers: Reconstructing Prehistoric Lifeways in the Western Great Basin ~ Clark Spencer Larsen and Dale L. Hutchinson
11. An Examination of Wetland Adaptive Strategies in Harney Basin: Comparing Ethnographic Paradigms and the Archaeological Record ~ Albert C. Oetting
12. Environmental Fluctuation and Physiological Stress in the Northern Great Basin ~ Greg C. Nelson
13. Wear and Tear: Osteoarthritis as an Indicator of Mobility among Great Basin Hunter-Gatherers ~ Brian E. Hemphill
14. Skeletal Structure and Behavioral Patterns of Prehistoric Great Basin Populations ~ Christopher B. Ruff
15. Faces in Prehistory: Great Basin Wetlands Skeletal Populations ~ Robert L. Bettinger


Praise and Reviews:

"An excellent presentation of research results, and it serves as model for what can be done with skeletons excavated in less than ideal circumstances. This volume should be on the bookshelf of all human osteologists as well as archaeologists involved with Great Basin prehistory."
American Journal of Human Biology

"A fine book, eminently readable and a good primer for any reader wondering about the breadth and value of bioarchaeological research."
American Antiquity

you wish to report:

Select the collections to add or remove from your search