The Paleoarchaic Occupation of the Old River Bed Delta

University of Utah Anthropological Paper No. 128

About 12,000 years ago, a major river ran from the Sevier Basin to the Great Salt Lake, feeding a wetland delta system and creating riparian habitat along its length. But after three thousand years the river dried up and the surrounding lands became more like what we see today. Because the Old River Bed Delta experienced less environmental and human disturbance than other areas, many of the Paleoarchaic sites found there have remained relatively intact—a rare find in the Great Basin. This book presents a comprehensive synthesis of a decade of investigations conducted by research teams working in different parts of the delta and explores questions about how the old riverbed was formed, how its distributary system changed through time, and how these changes affected early foragers. It concludes with an integrated summary and interpretation. Additional material from this study will be available online at 

Supplementary Material for The Paleoarchaic Occupation of the Old River Bed Delta

Chapter 3 - SDM Trench and Locality Descriptions November
Chapter 3 SDM Individual Channel Images November
Chapter 5 - SDM Additional Lithic Artifact Images
Chapter 6 - SDM Results of XRF and PXRF Analysis
Chapter 6 - SDM Source Assignment Tables

David B. Madsen is a research fellow at the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory, the University of Texas at Austin; and an adjunct professor in the anthropology departments of both Texas A&M University and Texas State University. He is the author of Entering America: Northeast Asia and Beringia before the Last Glacial Maximum (University of Utah Press, 2004).

Dave N. Schmitt is a research scientist at the Desert Research Institute Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences and adjunct lecturer at Southern Methodist University. He is coauthor (with David Madsen) of Buzz-Cut Dune and Fremont Foraging at the Margin of Horticulture, UUAP No. 124, and of Camels Back Cave, UUAP No. 125 (both University of Utah Press, 2005).

David Page is an assistant research archaeologist at the Desert Research Institute Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences. 

Praise and Reviews:

“A truly important contribution to our understanding of the history of Lake Bonneville and the associated archaeology. The book will be of great importance to archaeologists, geologists, paleontologists, biologists, hydrologists, and a wide range of other scholars.”
—Donald K. Grayson, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington

“An excellent, comprehensive study. It will certainly serve as a springboard for future investigations.”
—Marith Reheis, research geologist, USGS

“The book is of significance to understanding the geomorphic, hydrologic, and environmental history of the region.”
—Kevin Jones, Ancient Places Consulting

“The book is well-structured and the data are presented in great detail in a manner that supports and enables integration of these studies with future research. In a rapidly evolving field such as North American archaeology, the utility of this presentation cannot be underestimated and will benefit researchers for years to come.”—Geoarchaeology

“The authors and collaborators provide a timely presentation of data collected in the field as well as thoughtful analysis of those data to give the reader a sense of regional human ecology during the terminal Pleistocene–early Holocene in the eastern Great Basin. . . .The book is a must-have reference for anyone interested in Great Basin prehistory.”—Journal of Anthropological Research