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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Obsidian Source Distribution and Prehistoric Settlement Patterns at Mono Lake, Eastern California


Hunter-gatherer settlement studies often use toolstone diversity to measure the degree to which mobility was regular, expansive, or localized. The results of a 10 km.2 probabilistic survey investigating prehistoric wetland use at Mono Lake demonstrate a pattern that is counter-intuitive to preconceived notions. Diachronic change in landscape use is investigated with a combination of obsidian sourcing and hydration analyses. Rather than conforming to a linear distance-decay model, source distributions appear to re ect differential patch-choice among lakeside habitats. Comparisons with environmental and paleoenvironmental data underscore changes in the use of wetland habitats and highlight the utility of surface survey and obsidian data for understanding past settlement-subsistence patterns.

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