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A Diachronic Study of Land-Use in the Bodie Hills, Mono County, California
AuthorCarey, Peter A.
AdvisorSmith, Geoffrey M.
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This thesis presents the results of a study to test hypotheses related to diachronic shifts in land-use and obsidian use in the Bodie Hills region of eastern California. The Bodie Hills obsidian source is the northernmost of numerous eastern Sierra Nevada obsidian sources known to have been utilized throughout prehistory. Research at various eastern Sierra Nevada obsidian sources has revealed a production peak ~3,000 – 1,100 cal BP with a subsequent drop-off in obsidian use thereafter. For this study, I performed a records search and compiled 81 single-component sites and separated them into Early (pre-5,000 cal BP), Middle (5,000 – 1,300 cal BP) and Late (post-1,300 cal BP) periods. I then employed models of technological organization to characterize those sites and test hypotheses related to diachronic shifts in land-use and obsidian use. Additionally, I reviewed geochemical sourcing data to establish an eastern distribution of Bodie Hills obsidian in the Great Basin. Results from this study indicate that Early Period groups were far-ranging and, compared to later periods, minimally used obsidian from the Bodie Hills. Middle Period use of land and obsidian in the Bodie Hills was most intensive. Finally, obsidian use in the Bodie Hills decreased during the Late Period while subsistence pursuits increased. This study has wider applicability for the procurement and conveyance of eastern Sierra Nevada obsidian.