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Evaluating Gaps in the Radiocarbon Sequences of Northwestern Great Basin Sandals
AuthorOllivier, Aaron P.
AdvisorSmith, Geoffrey M.
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Large gaps occur in the radiocarbon sequences of Multiple Warp and Spiral Weft sandals. The gaps begin during the initial Middle Holocene and last for several millennia; however, the sandal types are technologically indistinguishable on either side of them. To test hypotheses regarding the cause of these gaps, I evaluate the existing radiocarbon sequences of both sandal types, present 24 additional radiocarbon dates on sandals, and critically evaluate chronological data from sandal-bearing sites in the northwestern Great Basin. My results demonstrate that the gaps in the sandal radiocarbon sequences are highly unlikely to occur due to chance. Instead, the gaps are likely a product of changing land-use patterns during the initial Middle Holocene. During this generally arid period of Great Basin prehistory, groups began utilizing areas where reliable water was found in both lowland and upland areas. This change necessitated abandoning the caves and rockshelters groups occupied during the Early Holocene, areas that afford excellent preservation of perishable artifacts like sandals.