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Cooperative Foraging Strategies and Technological Investment in the Western Great Basin: An Investigation of Archaeological Remains from the Winnemucca Lake Caves, Nevada
AuthorWebb, Dallin F.
AdvisorMorgan, Christopher T.
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This thesis investigates evidence for the intensity and development of cooperative foraging strategies and investment in cordage and lithic technologies through time in the western Great Basin. It specifically addresses (1) when the region’s inhabitants invested in cordage technology used to create cooperation-oriented nets; (2) when the region’s inhabitants invested in flaked-stone technology used for individual, active-search hunting; and (3) when nets occur in archaeological deposits. I therefore develop a methodology geared toward assessing diachronic changes in frequency and type of different cordage and flaked-stone technologies in the Winnemucca Lake Caves over the course of the Holocene (10,300–150 cal B.P.). The results of this study indicate that investments in cordage, netting, and flaked-stone technologies were greater during the Middle Archaic than during any earlier or later time period. Investment in these technologies increased during the Middle Archaic alongside growing human populations and ameliorating environmental conditions, suggesting that these factors may have played a role in the development of increased cooperation and technological investment during the western Great Basin’s Middle Archaic Period.