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Alpine Hunting Camps and Villages: Aboriginal Occupation Above 10,000’ in the White Mountains, Eastern California

A public lecture by Robert L. Bettinger (Distinguished Professor Emeritus Department of Anthropology University of California, Davis)

Made possible by the generous support of: Far Western Anthropological Research Group Archaeology Lecture Series 2018

Covering roughly 70 square miles at elevations from 10,000 to 14,252 feet, the White Mountains alpine zone is the both the largest and most intensively occupied by aboriginal peoples of its kind in North America. The earliest consistent use, beginning before 3500 B.C., is short term, by hunting parties, a pattern replaced at about A.D. 500 by intensive residential use reflected in multiple villages featuring one or more well-built dwellings, well-developed middens, and extensive assemblages of chipped and ground stone. While hunting was clearly important to this village pattern, artifacts indicate a surprisingly heavy reliance on plants: milling equipment accounts for nearly a third of all tools. The key distinction between the White Mountains village pattern and its alpine village counterparts in central Nevada (Alta Toquima) and Wyoming (High Rise Village) is intensity of use. While High Rise Village houses were never used intensively, and Alta Toquima houses only rarely, virtually all White Mountains houses were used repeatedly and intensively. This occupational intensity peaks at A.D. 1300, probably reflecting developments connected with the Numic spread. Earlier village use between A.D. 600 - 1300 noted here and at Alta Toquima is more likely the result of Basin-wide trajectory of regional intensification.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 7:00pm

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, 124 (Wells Fargo Auditorium)
39.5433916198639, -119.815739840269

Event Type

Lectures and Seminars


College of Liberal Arts, Anthropology




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