Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

1967

Abstract

Archeological investigations in the Western Plains have not progressed beyond exploratory surveys and simple, isolated excavation reports. Basic documentation and cultural ecological synthesis, particularly in later time periods, are two of the most pressing archeological problems in the region. The present study is concerned with clarifying the sequences of prehistoric occupations and the role of the environment in cultural adaptation and change in eastern Colorado north of the Platte-Arkansas divide over the last 2000 years.

Archeological excavations carried out at sixteen sites in 1964 and 1965 in northeastern Weld and western Logan Counties, Colorado, are reported in detail. Data from these reports are integrated with work previously done in the region in a developmental sequence of occupational periods. A reconstruction of the climatic context of prehistoric occupation is based on an intraregional and intersite correlation of alluvial stratigraphy and pollen records from the study area.

It is suggested that the postglacial environment was characterized by climatic fluctuations of varying magnitude and extent. The effects of an unpredictable environment are reflected in a common cultural ecological adaptation of hunting or hunting and collecting, regardless of the cultural background or level of development of the prehistoric inhabitants of the region. A knowledge of past climatic fluctuations further helps to explain cultural changes and population movements in the Western and Central Plains over the last 2000 years.

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