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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Great Basin Projectile Point Typology: Still Relevant?


This paper explores the evolution and current practice of Great Basin projectile point typology, with particular reference to the archaeology of the central core of the Intermountain West. Multiscalar perspectives are employed as tools to help to understand the considerable variability, both spatial and temporal, evident here. I examine the distribution of the Northern Side­notched projectile points that track the entrada of foragers into the mountainous central Great Basin. Along with the projectile points of the “short chronology” types, these time diagnostics help us understand the rise and demise of logistical hunting across this area. This paper argues that typological analysis today remains absolutely critical to our understanding of the archaeological record, particularly the interrelationship between the paleoclimatic and human behavioral evidence.

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