Early human activity in the arid west has been of interest for many researchers over the last century. However, relatively little is known about Paleoarchaic occupants of the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin because stratified Paleoarchaic sites in these regions are rare. Linked with the climatic Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene transition, the Paleoarchaic to Early Archaic transition has also captured interest in the central Great Basin with recent data coming out of Bonneville Estates Rockshelter—a site containing Pre-Archaic and Early Archaic components in eastern Nevada. These new data provide a model for testing differences in the chipped stone assemblage inferring changes in residential mobility at a new Paleoarchaic site on the Northern Colorado Plateau. Recently excavated, North Creek Shelter (42GA5863) is the only known stratified Paleoarchaic site on the Colorado Plateau for which we have data. Located in south-central Utah, this site was occupied during both the Paleoarchaic (~10,000-9,000 rcybp) and Early Archaic (~9,000-8,000 rcybp) time periods. Differences in the chipped stone assemblage inferring residential mobility between these time periods will be evaluated using Ted Goebel's (2007) model from Bonneville Estates Rockshelter. Based upon Bonneville Estates Rockshelter's lithic assemblage, Goebel inferred that the Pre-Archaic occupants exhibited higher levels of residential mobility than subsequent Early Archaic occupants. A similar tendency was expected for the Paleoarchaic occupants of North Creek Shelter; however, it appears that there is little difference between the North Creek Shelter Paleoarchaic and Early Archaic chipped stone assemblages inferring differences in residential mobility. What little difference there is may be the result of multiple factors, but if it is the result of residential mobility, then the data suggest that North Creek Shelter Paleoarchaic occupants were only slightly more mobile than the Early Archaic occupants.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Anthropology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Archaeology, Anthropology, Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, Paleoarchiac, Early Archaic, Mobility, Residential Mobility, Chipped Stone Artifacts, North Creek Shelter



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Anthropology Commons