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An Examination of Western Stemmed Tradition Settlement-Subsistence, Territoriality, and Lithic Technological Organization in the Northwestern Great Basin
AdvisorSmith, Geoffrey M.
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A paucity of stratified, open-air Western Stemmed Tradition (WST) sites has long been an issue for Great Basin researchers. Most Paleoindian sites are near-surface lithic scatters that lack subsistence residues, perishable technology, and materials that can be radiocarbon dated. While surface sites pose a number of interpretive challenges, they remain essential to our understanding of WST lifeways in the Great Basin. In this dissertation, I evaluate current models of WST settlement-subsistence and lithic technological organization in the northwestern Great Basin through analyses of recently discovered and previously reported lithic assemblages. I also explore novel methods of analyzing lithic and source provenance data to strengthen interpretations of surface assemblages and source profiles. My results suggests that: (1) WST groups in the northwestern Great Basin were residentially mobile, focused on wetlands, and likely moved base camps regularly; (2) toolstone procurement strategies were based on maximizing productivity within a wetland-oriented lifestyle; and (3) the northwestern Great Basin contained a single highly connected Paleoindian network that was likely a product of unrestricted socio-political boundaries, low population densities, limited resource competition, and a mobile settlement-subsistence strategy.