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Changing Landscapes During the Terminal Pleistocene/Early Holocene: The Archaeology and Paleoclimate of the Mud Lake Basin, Nye County, Nevada
AuthorFenner, Lindsay A.
AdvisorSmith, Geoffrey M.
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Archaeological investigation along Pleistocene lakeshores is a longstanding and common approach to prehistoric research in the Great Basin. Continuing in this tradition, this thesis considers the archaeological remains present from pluvial Mud Lake, Nye County, Nevada coupled with an examination of paleoclimatic conditions to assess land-use patters during the terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene. Temporally diagnostic lithic assemblages from 44 localities in the Mud Lake basin provide the framework for which environmental proxy records are considered. Overwhelmingly occupied by Prearchaic groups, comprising 76.6% of all diagnostic artifacts present, Mud Lake was intensively utilized right up to its desiccation after the Younger Dryas, estimated at 9,000 radiocarbon years before present. Intermittently occupied through the remainder of the Holocene, different land-use strategies were employed as a result of shifting subsistence resources reacting to an ever changing environment. The results of this thesis complement the existing knowledge base on Prearchaic groups in the Great Basin, with particular contributions to the lesser studied small pluvial basins.