Situating (Proto) History on the Northwestern Plains and Rocky Mountains

Laura L. Scheiber and Judson Byrd Finley

in The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195380118
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Situating (Proto) History on the Northwestern Plains and Rocky Mountains

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The Northwestern Plains and adjacent areas are well known for a rich Paleoindian archaeological record, dating back more than 12,000 years. Holocene occupations are somewhat less recognized to those unfamiliar with the plains, although certainly buffalo jumps, tipi rings, and medicine wheels are part of a broader knowledge and lexicon about the archaeology of the continent. Inspired by a growing interest in colonial and frontier encounters, and in bridging artificial divisions between prehistoric and historical archaeology as well as recent methodological innovations, plains and mountain archaeologists have begun turning their attention to study of the other side of the time spectrum, that is, the material record of Native lives in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. This article aims to problematize the relationship between the so-called prehistoric and historic eras on the Northwestern Plains and middle Rocky Mountains, and to present two cases that exemplify recent research within a defined study area centered on the Bighorn Basin and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of northwestern Wyoming and south central Montana.

Keywords: Northwestern Plains; Paleoindian archaeology; prehistoric eras; historic eras; Rocky Mountains; material record

Article.  4373 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of North America

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