This book brings together the work of archaeologists investigating prehistoric hunter-gatherers (foragers) and early farmers in both the Southwest and the Great Basin. Most previous work on this topic has been regionally specific, with researchers from each area favoring a different theoretical approach and little shared dialogue. Here the studies of archaeologists working in both the Southwest and the Great Basin are presented side by side to illustrate the similarities in environmental challenges and cultural practices of the prehistoric peoples who lived in these areas and to explore common research questions addressed by both regions.
Three main themes link these papers: the role of the environment in shaping prehistoric behavior, flexibility in foraging and farming adaptations, and diversity in settlement strategies. Contributors cover a range of topics including the varied ways hunter-gatherers adapted to arid environments, the transition from hunting and gathering to farming and the reasons for it, the variation in early farmers across the Southwest and Great Basin, and the differing paths followed as they developed settled villages.
Barbara J. Roth is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has studied hunter-gatherer adaptations in the southern Southwest and the transition from hunting and gathering to farming for much of her career.
Maxine E. McBrinn is Curator of Archaeology at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is also a research associate at The Field Museum in Chicago and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She has also studied hunter-gatherers, primarily in the Mogollon region and the northern Southwest.
Praise and Reviews:
“The authors provide an array of articles that highlight parallels in Southwestern and Great Basin research and show how theoretical approaches commonly used in one region may be usefully applied to the other. The papers illustrate through example, rather than by being prescriptive.”
—Andrew Ugan, Far Western Anthropological Research Group