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Developing a Geomorphic and Archaeological History of Painters Flat
AuthorGrund, Denay Marie
AdvisorSmith, Geoffrey M
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Painters Flat is a small basin that sits along the northern California-Nevada border. It has never been studied in detail. During 2020 fieldwork, I collected geomorphic and sedimentological data to construct the hydrologic history of the basin throughout the late Pleistocene and Holocene. I used a hydrologic model to determine the changes in temperature and precipitation needed to form a lake or wet meadow and, along with marsh potential estimations, identified likely environmental conditions in Painters Flat across time. Using the distributions of archaeological sites and time-sensitive projectile points, I determined how people utilized Painters Flat and how hydrologic changes drove them to alter their settlement-subsistence strategies. Peoples’ responses to changes in larger lake systems (e.g., Lake Lahontan) have been extensively studied in the Great Basin; however, how they responded to changes in small hydrologic basins remains poorly understood. Painters Flat offers an opportunity to test the hypothesis that smaller systems – and humans living in them – responded differently to the onset of the Holocene.