Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Stephen H. Lekson

Second Advisor

Catherine M. Cameron

Third Advisor

Sheila Rae Goff


Rediscovered in the 1930s by the Mantle family, Mantle’s Cave contained excellently preserved feather bundles, a feather headdress, moccasins, a deer-scalp headdress, baskets, stone tools, and other perishable goods. From the start of excavations, Mantle’s Cave appeared to display influences from both Fremont and Ancestral Puebloan peoples, leading Burgh and Scoggin to determine that the cave was used by Fremont people displaying traits heavily influenced by Basketmaker peoples. Researchers have analyzed the baskets, cordage, and feather headdress in the hopes of obtaining both radiocarbon dates and clues as to which culture group used Mantle’s Cave. This thesis attempts to derive the cultural influence of the artifacts from Mantle’s Cave by analyzing the feathers. This analysis includes data from comparative cave sites displaying cultural, temporal, or site-type similarities to Mantle’s Cave. In addition to the archaeological data, ethnographic data concerning how Great Basin, Southwest, Great Plains, and northern Mexican peoples conceive of and use feathers will be included. Lastly, theoretical perspectives on agency, symbolism, and the transmission of cultural traditions will be used in an effort to interpret the data collected herein.