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On Late Holocene Variability in Bison Populations in the Northeastern Great Basin

  • Author(s): Lupo, Karen D
  • Schmitt, Dave N
  • et al.
Abstract

Bison (Bison bison) are believed to have constituted a primary prey of prehistoric populations occupying portions of the northeastern Great Basin. This article presents evidence from archaeological sites along the northeastern shores of the Great Salt Lake that suggests bison populations may have fluctuated through time and become less abundant after A.D. 1300, possibly in response to paleoenvironmental conditions. The localized unpredictability and irregularity of this resource may have resulted in the adoption of flexible hunting strategies involving expansion of diet breadth, logistical trips to areas where bison persisted, and/or trade with neighboring peoples for bison products. These latter strategies were documented among historic populations occupying these areas, and evidence presented herein suggests that these strategies may have been in place by the fourteenth century or possibly earlier.

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