- ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SCHOOL 1997 -

EASTERN SIERRA NEVADA : LONG VALLEY // MONO COUNTY, CA
PREHISTORY OF THE CALIFORNIA : GREAT BASIN BORDERLANDS

::: The eastern Sierra Nevada has been the subject of intensive archaeological research for the past several decades, contributing not only to an understanding of the cultural history of the region but playing an important role in the development of method and theory in hunter-gatherer archaeology generally. With its well-documented paleo-climatic record, this section of the western Great Basin continues to be an excellent laboratory for exploring the interplay between food resources, demographic patterns, technological organization, and social organization within arid and semi-arid environments. Excavations are intended to better document middle (7500-4000 B.P.) and late (4000 B.P. to present) Holocene prehistory within the Inyo-Mono region, while the survey work is expected to enhance our understanding of early (10,000-7500 B.P.) land-use strategies :::

::: Fieldwork took place in several parts of the eastern Sierra Nevada, beginning near the town of Mammoth Lakes in what geologists refer to as the Long Valley caldera. Near the headwaters of the Owens River, this high desert environment plays host to a combination of typical Great Basin and Sierran plant communities. Narrow riparian corridors along the river and its tributaries are surrounded by lush sagebrush scrub, giving way at higher elevations to pinyon-juniper woodland, Jeffrey pine forest, and finally, alpine tundra. Excavations and surveys were conducted on old terraces fronting the Owens River. The second portion of the field class took place at Travertine Hot Springs, south of Bridgeport, one of the major thermal spring complexes in the region. Work involved detailed mapping, surface collection, and excavation at protohistoric Paiute sites in the pinyon-juniper zone surrounding the springs. The eastern Sierra is a well-watered region of splendid scenery, bordered by the highest mountains in the continental United States, and containing one of the richest archaeological records in North America :::


 

Department of Anthropology California State University, Sacramento 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6106
Phone: (916) 278-5330Fax: 278-4854 e-mail: arc@csus.edu

WEB SITE DESIGNED AND COMPILED //  BRIAN JAMES AND WILLIAM LARSON // 2010