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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Numic Expansion in the Southern Sierra Nevada


Recent research indicates that late prehistoric Numic expansion onto the western slope of the southern Sierra Nevada was facilitated by a competitive edge held by migrating groups, mainly Great Basin­derived settlement and subsistence behaviors ne­tuned to the uncertainties of living in Little Ice Age mountain environments. But ethnographic, linguistic, and archaeological evidence also suggests widespread borrowing from California cultures and the development of complementary social and economic relationships with California groups. This indicates a negotiated and elastic, rather than an overtly competitive, process of territorial expansion.

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